The Weekly Volcanic Activity Report: April 12 – 18, 2023

the weekly volcanic activity report

New activity/unrest was reported for 3 volcanoes from April 12 to 18, 2023. During the same period, ongoing activity was reported for 18 volcanoes.

New activity/unrest: Bezymianny, Central Kamchatka (Russia) | Nevado del Ruiz, Colombia | Sheveluch, Central Kamchatka (Russia).

Ongoing activity: Aira, Kyushu (Japan) | Aniakchak, Alaska Peninsula, Alaska | Asamayama, Honshu (Japan) | Cotopaxi, Ecuador | Dukono, Halmahera | Ebeko, Paramushir Island (Russia) | Fuego, South-Central Guatemala | Great Sitkin, Andreanof Islands (USA) | Ibu, Halmahera | Karangetang, Sangihe Islands | Lewotolok, Lembata Island | Merapi, Central Java | Rincon de la Vieja, Costa Rica | Sabancaya, Peru | Santa Maria, Southwestern Guatemala | Semeru, Eastern Java | Semisopochnoi, Aleutian Islands (USA) | Suwanosejima, Ryukyu Islands (Japan).

New activity/unrest

Bezymianny, Central Kamchatka (Russia)

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

KVERT reported that the eruption at Bezymianny intensified to a significant explosive phase starting from 1738 on 7 April and ending before 0906 on 8 April (local times). Based on webcam and satellite data ash plumes rose 10-12 km (32,800-39,400 ft) a.s.l. and drifted 2,800 km E. Notable amounts of ash fell at the Apakhonchich station. A daily thermal anomaly from continuing lava effusion was identified in satellite images during 8-14 April. The Aviation Color Code remained at 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 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.

Nevado del Ruiz, Colombia

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

Servicio Geológico Colombiano’s (SGC) reported that the eruption at Nevado del Ruiz continued during 11-18 April and was characterized by gas, steam, and ash emissions, thermal anomalies at the lava dome in Arenas Crater, and elevated seismicity. Seismic signals indicating rock-fracturing events continued to be located 2-6 km SW of Arenas Crater at depths of 2-4 km, though on 12 and 16 April signals were also located in the NE sector of the volcano at depths of 0.5-5 km. The number of daily events fluctuated through the week. Additionally, signals indicating fluid movement fluctuated in intensity and were associated with daily ash emissions. On 11 April ash-and-gas plumes rose as high as 2.5 km above the crater rim and drifted SW and NW, causing ashfall in the municipalities of Villamaría (Caldas) and Filandia (Quindío). Ash-and-gas plumes that rose as high as 1.8 km drifted SW and NW on 12 April, and 1.5 km high plumes drifted SW on 13 April. During 0759-1113 on 14 April and from 1515 on 14 April to 1257 on 15 April seismicity activity intensified and corresponded to continuous ash emissions that rose as high as 1.5 km and drifted SW. These emissions were visible from the municipalities of Murillo and Manizales. Later that day gas-and-ash plumes rose to 1.6 km and drifted NW. According to a news article 87 people had self-evacuated after the government called for the voluntary evacuation of around 2,500 families on 5 April. The Alert Level was remained at Orange, Level II (the second highest level on a four-level scale).

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.

Sheveluch, Central Kamchatka (Russia)

56.653°N, 161.36°E | Summit elev. 3283 m

According to KVERT a significant eruption at Sheveluch began at 0110 on 11 April, local time. During the most intense phase of activity ash plumes possibly rose as high as 15.8 km (52,000 ft) a.s.l., a significant sulfur dioxide signature was detected in the plume, pyroclastic flows traveled notable distances, and ash-and-lapilli-fall impacted residents. Strong explosions continued during the morning of 12 April. At 0730 on 12 April satellite images showed ash plumes rising to 8 km (26,200 ft) a.s.l., though parts of the large ash plume generated earlier extended 600 km SW and 1,050 km ESE. The explosions weakened by 1710 when ash plumes were only rising to 4.5 km (14,800 ft) a.s.l. and drifting ESE; at 1801 KVERT issued a Volcano Observatory Notice for Aviation (VONA) lowering the Aviation Color Code to Orange. By 2310 ash extended as far as 3,000 km E. KVERT noted that ash deposits in Klyuchi were as deep as 8.5 cm, and ashfall was reported in Kozyrevsk, Maiskoye, Atlasovo, Lazo, and Esso during 10-12 April. According to news sources, the ash-and-gas plumes drifted E toward the Aleutian Islands and reached the Gulf of Alaska by 13 April, causing flight disruptions. More than 100 flights involving Alaska airspace were cancelled due to the plume. Flight cancellations were also reported in NW Canada (British Columbia) during 13-14 April. Alaskan flight schedules were mostly back to normal by 15 April, with only minor delays and far fewer cancellations; a few cancellations continued to be reported in Canada.

On 13 April Kamchatka Volcanological Station (KVS) volcanologists inspected pyroclastic flow deposits that had stopped about 600 m from the Klyuchi-Ust-Kamchatsk federal highway. They walked about 1 km through deep snow (1 m) covered in 6 cm of ash and noted that some parts of the deposits were hot. Steam rose from downed smoldering trees. One picture showed a large block lodged high up in a bare tree. They also noted that the pyroclastic flow deposits were thin with very few large fragments, different from previous flows from Sheveluch. Clearing weather on 15 April revealed that most of the previous lava-dome complex was gone and there was a new crater 1 km in diameter from which voluminous steam-and-gas plumes were rising. Evidence suggested that there had been a directed blast to the SE, and pyroclastic flows traveled more than 20 km.

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.

Ongoing activity

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 10-17 April, with crater incandescence visible nightly. Very small eruptive events occasionally occurred during 10-14 April. Two eruptive events on 17 April produced ash plumes that rose as high as 1.5 km and drifted S. 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 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.

Aniakchak, Alaska Peninsula, Alaska

56.88°N, 158.17°W | Summit elev. 1341 m

On 13 April AVO issued an Information Statement about the ongoing unrest at Aniakchak. Measurements of the earthquake rate in the ongoing swarm were disrupted by a partial network outage that began on 4 March and reduced the ability to detect smaller earthquakes. Earthquake activity continued to be above background levels with a M 3.3 on 6 April as the largest recent event. In addition to the earthquake swarm, high rates of deformation were detected in radar data. A zone of uplift centered within the W side of the caldera was first detected between 4 and 27 February. The ground uplift rates were about 4 cm per week during February-March and about 3 cm per week during 23 March-4 April. These uplift rates are at the high end of those observed for restless volcanoes worldwide.

Seismic and deformation data suggested that magma was intruding beneath the caldera at a depth of 3-4 km below sea level. AVO noted that unrest at calderas such as Aniakchak sometimes lasts for many months or even years and could be variable . If an eruption were to occur, it could be after a period of months or years and would likely be preceded by additional signals that would allow AVO to provide advance warning. Aniakchak has a local monitoring network consisting of six seismometers, a web camera, and an infrasound sensor, as well as with satellite remote sensing data and regional infrasound and lightning networks. AVO recently installed an additional seismic station and web camera in Port Heiden, 26 km NW. 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: One of the most dramatic calderas of the Aleutian arc, the 10-km-wide Aniakchak caldera formed around 3,400 years ago during a voluminous eruption in which pyroclastic flows traveled more than 50 km N to the Bering Sea and also reached the Pacific Ocean to the south. At least 40 explosive eruptions have been documented during the past 10,000 years, making it the most active volcano of the eastern Aleutian arc. A dominantly andesitic pre-caldera volcano was constructed above basement Mesozoic and Tertiary sedimentary rocks that are exposed in the caldera walls to elevations of about 610 m. The ice-free caldera floor contains many pyroclastic cones, tuff cones, maars, and lava domes. Surprise Lake on the NE side drains through The Gates, a steep-walled breach on the east side of the 1-km-high caldera rim that was the site of catastrophic draining of a once larger lake about 1850 years BP. Vent Mountain and Half Cone are two long-lived vents on the south-central and NW caldera floor, respectively. The first and only confirmed historical eruption took place in 1931 from vents on the west and SW caldera floor.

Asamayama, Honshu (Japan)

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

JMA reported that minor inflation on Asamayama’s W flank persisted during 10-17 April. The daily number of shallow volcanic earthquakes was 40-80 during 10-14 April and around 40 during 14-17 April. Sulfur dioxide emissions were high at 700 tons per day on 14 April. The Alert Level remained at a 2 (on a scale of 1-5) and warned the public that ejected blocks and pyroclastic flows may travel as far as 2 km from the crater during an eruption.

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 present (BP). 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 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.

Cotopaxi, Ecuador

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

IG reported that eruptive activity at Cotopaxi was ongoing during 11-18 April, though cloudy weather often prevented webcam and satellite views. A small secondary lahar descended the Agualongo drainage on the SW flank on 11 April. Ash-and-gas plumes on 12 April rose as high as 1.5 km above the crater rim and drifted W and SW. Muddy water in a drainage on the NW flank was visible on 15 April. Daily gas-and-steam emissions were visible during 13-18 April, rising as high as 300 m and drifted 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.

Dukono, Halmahera

1.693°N, 127.894°E | Summit elev. 1229 m

PVMBG reported that the eruption at Dukono was ongoing during 12-17 April. Daily dense white-and-gray ash plumes rose as high as 400 m above the summit and drifted E. No ash plumes were reported by PVMBG on 12 April, but according to the Darwin VAAC an ash plume rose to 2.1 km (7,000 ft) a.s.l., or about 900 m above the summit, and drifted E. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4), and the public was warned to remain outside of the 2-km exclusion zone.

Geological summary: Reports from this remote volcano in northernmost Halmahera are rare, but Dukono has been one of Indonesia’s most active volcanoes. More-or-less continuous explosive eruptions, sometimes accompanied by lava flows, occurred from 1933 until at least the mid-1990s, when routine observations were curtailed. During a major eruption in 1550, a lava flow filled in the strait between Halmahera and the north-flank cone of Gunung Mamuya. This complex volcano presents a broad, low profile with multiple summit peaks and overlapping craters. Malupang Wariang, 1 km SW of the summit crater complex, contains a 700 x 570 m crater that has also been active during historical time.

Ebeko, Paramushir Island (Russia)

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

According to the Tokyo VAAC a possible ash plume at Ebeko was visible in a satellite image at 0920 on 14 April rising to 2.4 (8,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted NE. The plume had dissipated by 1120. Another plume from a possible eruption was identified in satellite images at 1300, rising to 3.7 (12,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifting N. The plume was no longer visible or had dissipated by 1720. At 1452 on 16 April an ash plume rose to 3 km (10,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted NE.

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 4-13 explosions per hour were generally recorded at Fuego during 11-18 April, generating daily ash plumes that rose as high as 1.1 km above the crater rim and drifted as far as 30 km SW, S, SE, and E. Daily ashfall was recorded in areas downwind including Morelia (9 km SW), Panimaché I and II (8 km SW), Santa Sofía (12 km SW), El Porvenir (8 km ENE), La Rochela, San Andrés Osuna, Ceylon, Finca La Asunción, El Zapote (10 km S), Alotenángo (8 km ENE), and other areas to the N and NE. Daily block avalanches descended multiple drainages including the Ceniza (SSW), Seca (W), Trinidad (S), Taniluyá (SW), Honda, Las Lajas (SE), and El Jute (ESE), and often reached vegetated areas. Daily shock waves rattled structures in communities around the volcano and rumbling was often heard. Explosions ejected incandescent material as high as 350 m above the summit on most days.

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. 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 continued to slowly erupt at the summit of Great Sitkin during 11-17 April, producing a thick lava flow that expanded mostly to the E. Seismicity was low, and during 11-13 April only a few small events were detected. Elevated surface temperatures were identified in satellite images during 16-17 April, and steam emissions were visible in webcam views during 17-18 April. Weather clouds often obscured satellite and webcam views during most of the week. 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 up to 6 m. The small younger caldera was partially filled by lava domes emplaced in 1945 and 1974, and five small older flank lava domes, two of which lie on the coastline, were constructed along northwest- and NNW-trending lines. Hot springs, mud pots, and fumaroles occur near the head of Big Fox Creek, south of the volcano. Historical eruptions have been recorded since the late-19th century.

Ibu, Halmahera

1.488°N, 127.63°E | Summit elev. 1325 m

PVMBG reported that the eruption at Ibu continued during 12-18 April. White-and-gray plumes of variable densities rose as high as 800 m above the summit and drifted NE, S, SW, and NW. 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.

Karangetang, Sangihe Islands

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

Webcam images of Karangetang captured in the PVMBG daily reports periodically showed small areas of incandescence at the summit craters during 11-17 April. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a scale of 1-4) and the public were 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 a 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; collapse of lava flow fronts have produced pyroclastic flows.

Lewotolok, Lembata Island

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

PVMBG reported that the eruption at Lewotolok was ongoing during 12-17 April. White steam-and-gas plumes of variable densities were seen on most days rising as high as 700 m above the summit and drifting NE, E, and SE. On 13, 15, and 17 April white-and-gray plumes rose as high as 500 m and drifted NW, NE, E, and SE. 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 7-13 April and seismicity remained at high levels. The SW lava dome produced 132 lava avalanches that traveled as far as 2 km down the SW flank (upstream in the Bebeng and Boyong drainages). 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 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.

Rincon de la Vieja, Costa Rica

10.83°N, 85.324°W | Summit elev. 1916 m

OVSICORI-UNA reported that small phreatic eruptions, often in association with observed emissions, occurred at Rincón de la Vieja during 11-17 April. A small phreatic eruption on 11 April consisted of several pulses of activity recorded during 0653-0700 and at 0743. Gas-and-steam plumes rose 500 m above the crater rim. A small phreatic event was recorded late in the evening. An event at 0450 on 12 April produced a gas-and-steam plume that rose 500 m and another was recorded at 1920 with no visual observations reported. Gas-and-steam emissions from a phreatic event were seen at 0632 on 13 April; an event was recorded at 1826 with no visual observations reported. At 0936 on 14 April an event produced a gas-and-steam plume that rose as high as 2 km and was seen from Curubandé. The event was preceded by a swarm of long-period earthquakes five hours prior to the eruption; sediments were possibly ejected from the crater lake and deposited on the crater floor. A small phreatic eruption at 0647 on 16 April ejected material out of the crater and produced a gas-and-steam plume that rose 2 km. A smaller emission rose 500 m at 0957 and at 2235 an event generated a plume that rose 500 m. At 1237 on 17 April a phreatic event produced a plume that rose 1.5 km above the crater rim and a brief event was recorded at 0722 on 18 April.

Geological summary: Rincón de la Vieja, the largest volcano in NW Costa Rica, is a remote volcanic complex in the Guanacaste Range. The volcano consists of an elongated, arcuate NW-SE-trending ridge constructed within the 15-km-wide early Pleistocene Guachipelín caldera, whose rim is exposed on the south side. Sometimes known as the “Colossus of Guanacaste,” it has an estimated volume of 130 km3 and contains at least nine major eruptive centers. Activity has migrated to the SE, where the youngest-looking craters are located. The twin cone of Santa María volcano, the highest peak of the complex, is located at the eastern end of a smaller, 5-km-wide caldera and has a 500-m-wide crater. A Plinian eruption producing the 0.25 km3 Río Blanca tephra about 3,500 years ago was the last major magmatic eruption. All subsequent eruptions, including numerous historical eruptions possibly dating back to the 16th century, have been from the prominent active crater containing a 500-m-wide acid lake located ENE of Von Seebach crater.

Sabancaya, Peru

15.787°S, 71.857°W | Summit elev. 5960 m

Instituto Geofísico del Perú (IGP) reported moderate levels of activity at Sabancaya during 10-16 April with a daily average of 41 explosions. Gas-and-ash plumes rose as high as 2.5 km above the summit and drifted NW, W, SW, and S. Six thermal anomalies originating from the lava dome in the summit crater were identified in satellite data. 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.

Santa Maria, Southwestern Guatemala

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

INSIVUMEH reported that the eruption at Santa María’s Santiaguito lava-dome complex continued during 12-18 April. Effusion from the Caliente dome complex fed lava flows that descended the San Isidro and Zanjón Seco drainages on the W and SW flanks; the main lava flow was 4.3 km long and remained active. Incandescence from the dome and the lava flows was frequently visible at night. Avalanches down the N, E, S, and SW flanks of the dome were sometimes generated from the lava-flow front and margins. Daily weak or weak-to-moderate explosions were recorded by the seismic network and on most days the explosions generated ash plumes that rose as high as 1 km above the complex and drifted mainly E, S, and SW. Weak rumbling was barely heard on nearby farms during 16-17 April. Residents were reminded to stay at least 6 km away from the complex.

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 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 during 12-18 April and daily Volcano Observatory Notices for Aviation (VONAs) describing ash emissions were issued through the week. At 0747 on 12 April a dense white-to-gray plume rose 600 m above the summit and drifted N. On 13 April at 1135 a gray-to-brown ash plume rose 400 m and drifted NE, at 1249 a dense gray ash plume rose 500 m and drifted N and NE, and at 1709 a dense white-to-gray ash plume rose 600 m and drifted E. At 0529 on 14 April a white-to-brown ash plume rose 500 m and drifted S. White-to-gray ash plumes at 0606 and 0731 on 15 April rose 600-700 m and drifted N and NE. At 0551 on 16 April a dense white-to-gray ash plume rose 1 km and drifted N. On 17 April at 0614 a medium-density white-to-brown ash plume rose 700 m and drifted S and at 0847 a white-to-gray ash plume rose 600 m and also drifted S. At 0540 and 0708 on 18 April dense white-to-gray ash plumes rose 500-600 m and drifted S and W. 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 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 during 12-18 April. No eruptive activity was observed, though some weak seismicity was recorded. Cloudy weather often prevented webcam and satellite views during most of the week. 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 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.

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 10-17 April. Eruptive activity produced ash plumes during 12-14 and 17 April that rose as high as 1.5 km above the crater rim and drifted NW, S, SE, and E. Large blocks were ejected as far as 500 m from the vent. Crater incandescence was visible nightly. 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.


Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report – April 12 – 18, 2023 – Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert


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