The Weekly Volcanic Activity Report: April 19 – 25, 2023

the weekly volcanic activity report

New activity/unrest was reported for 4 volcanoes from April 19 – 25, 2023. During the same period, ongoing activity was reported for 17 volcanoes.

New activity/unrest: Bezymianny, Central Kamchatka (Russia) | Nevado del Ruiz, Colombia | Rincon de la Vieja, Costa Rica | Sheveluch, Central Kamchatka (Russia).

Ongoing activity: Ahyi, Mariana Islands (USA) | Aira, Kyushu (Japan) | Ambae, Vanuatu | Cotopaxi, Ecuador | Ebeko, Paramushir Island (Russia) | Fuego, South-Central Guatemala | Great Sitkin, Andreanof Islands (USA) | Karangetang, Sangihe Islands | Katmai, Alaska | Lewotolok, Lembata Island | Merapi, Central Java | Reventador, Ecuador | 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 a daily thermal anomaly from continuing lava effusion at Bezymianny was identified in satellite images during 14-20 April. Gas-and-steam emissions were visible and occasional collapses from the growing lava dome produced avalanches of hot material. The Aviation Color Code was lowered to Yellow (the second lowest level on a four-color scale) on 20 April because activity had declined after the strong 7-8 April explosive eruption. Dates are based on UTC times; specific events are in local time where noted.

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) Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Manizales reported that the eruption at Nevado del Ruiz continued during 18-25 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 were located 1-3 km W, SW, NE, and E of Arenas Crater and below the crater, at depths of 0.4-6.2 km. The largest event, a M 1.7, was recorded at 1735 on 24 April and was located 4.1 km E of the crater, at a depth of 3.2 km. The event was felt by residents in the Lagunilla river canyon. Additionally, signals indicating fluid movement fluctuated in intensity and were associated with daily gas-and-steam emissions, sometimes containing ash, that rose as high as 1.8 km above the crater rim. At 0711 on 18 April an ash plume rose 1.8 km above the crater rim and drifted SE, causing ashfall in the municipality of Anzoátegui, Tolima. At 2235 on 19 April and at 2248 on 21 April ash plumes rose 1.8 km and drifted SSE. Gas emissions with possible ash rose as high as 1.3 km and drifted SW and E during 20-21 April. Pulsating ash emissions were seen in webcam images during 23-25 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.

Rincon de la Vieja, Costa Rica

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

OVSICORI-UNA reported that phreatic eruptions, detected seismically but often with observed emissions, continued to occur at Rincón de la Vieja during 18-25 April. Several eruptive events recorded during 18-21 April produced gas-and-steam emissions that rose as high as 1.5 km above the crater rim. A strong eruptive event at 1550 on 21 April generated a dense plume of material that rose 500 m above the crater rim and then collapsed, producing a pyroclastic flow and lahars on the N flank. A steam-and-gas plume with minor ash content rose 4-5 km above the crater rim. Strong tremor levels and near-continuous gas emissions were recorded after the event. That same day OVSICORI-UNA noted that during the previous week sulfur dioxide emissions were 221 tons per day on average, though emissions spiked to close to 5,000 tons per day after several of the phreatic events. During 22-24 April nearly continuous gas emissions continued to be visible and strong tremor continued to be recorded by the seismic network. Small phreatic events were recorded at 1904 on 22 April and at 0054 and 0629 on 24 April. Small phreatic events at 2250 on 23 April and 0630 on 24 April produced steam-and-gas plumes that rose no higher than 500 m above the crater rim.

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.

Sheveluch, Central Kamchatka (Russia)

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

KVERT reported that a thermal anomaly over Sheveluch was identified in satellite images during 14-20 April. During 14-15 April ash plumes rose to 6 km (19,700 ft) a.s.l. and drifted 700 km NW. During 17-19 April plumes of unconsolidated ash resuspended from the flanks by wind rose to 4 km (13,100 ft) a.s.l. and drifted as far as 224 km NW. The sulfur dioxide gas portion of the eruption cloud produced during the notable 11-12 April activity continued to drift E; by 21 April the leading edge of the plume was over part of Greenland. 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.

Ongoing activity

Ahyi, Mariana Islands (USA)

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

On 26 April both the Aviation Color Code and the Volcano Alert Level for Ahyi Seamount were lowered to Unassigned because signs of unrest had decreased, and no indication of submarine volcanic activity had occurred for at least four weeks. Observations of discolored water near the seamount were last identified in satellite images in late March 2023, and underwater activity based on acoustic signals had been negligible since early April 2023.

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 17-24 April, with crater incandescence visible nightly. Two eruptive events on 17 April produced ash plumes that rose 1-1.5 km and drifted S. That same day sulfur dioxide emissions were somewhat high at 1,900 tons per day. Very small eruptive events occasionally occurred during 21-24 April. 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.

Ambae, Vanuatu

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

Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards Department (VMGD) reported that at 0730 on 19 April a plume consisting of steam, sulfur dioxide gas, and ash rose 695 m above Ambae’s summit and drifted E and SE, based on an image from a webcam located 22 km NE on the NE tip of Ambae Island, in Saratamata. 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.

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.

Cotopaxi, Ecuador

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

IG reported ongoing moderate eruptive activity at Cotopaxi during 18-25 April. Cloudy weather sometimes prevented webcam and satellite views, but daily emissions of steam-and-gas rising as high as 1.5 km were seen in webcam images. Small ash-and-gas emissions were visible during 21-22 April. An ash plume first seen at 0953 on 24 April rose up to 3 km above the summit and drifted NE. Later that afternoon and evening ash-and-gas emissions rose 350 m and drifted N. At 1600 the seismic station recorded a small secondary lahar that descended the Cutzalao/Agualongo drainage on the SW flank. 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 13-20 April and a thermal anomaly was identified in satellite images during 14-15 April. According to volcanologists in Severo-Kurilsk (Paramushir Island, about 7 km E), and satellite data, explosions during 14-16 April generated ash plumes that rose as high as 3.5 km (11,500 ft) a.s.l. and drifted 104 km NE. Weather clouds prevented satellite views on the other days of the week. 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 were recorded at Fuego during 18-25 April, generating daily ash plumes that rose as high as 1 km above the crater rim and drifted as far as 65 km SW, S, SE, and E. Ashfall was recorded each day in areas downwind including Morelia (9 km SW), Panimaché I and II (8 km SW), La Rochela, Santa Sofía (12 km SW), San Andrés Osuna, Ceilan, Finca La Asunción, Ceylon, El Zapote (10 km S), Aldeas, El Rodeo and other nearby communities. Daily block avalanches descended multiple drainages including the Santa Teresa, 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. During 22-23 April the avalanches remobilized ash deposits causing a plume that rose 100 m and drifted S and SE. On 23 April lahars in the Ceniza drainage carried branches, tree trunks, and blocks 30 cm to 1.5 m in diameter.

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 19-25 April. Weather clouds often obscured satellite and webcam views during most of the week. Seismicity was low, and during 21-22 April only a few small events were detected. Satellite data last acquired on 14 April showed that the thick lava continued to expand towards the E and remained confined to the summit crater. 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.

Karangetang, Sangihe Islands

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

PVMBG reported that the effusive eruption which began around 1700 on 8 February at Karangetang’s Main Crater (S crater) produced lava flows and lava avalanches that traveled as far as 2 km down the SW and S flanks in drainages leading to the Beha, Batang, Timbelang, Batuawang, and Kahetang rivers. Effusion ended on 1 April and avalanches of material were no longer detected. Seismic signals indicating effusion decreased and by 6 April were no longer being detected. Incandescence at both Main Crater and Crater II (N crater) was visible at night during 1-25 April. White gas plumes were seen rising as high as 200 m above the summit and drifted in multiple directions; weather clouds sometimes prevented views. On 26 April the Alert Level was lowered to 2 (on a scale of 1-4) and the public was warned to stay 2.5 km away from the craters on the S and SW flanks and 1.5 km away on the other 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.

Katmai, Alaska

58.28°N, 154.963°W | Summit elev. 2047 m

AVO reported that during the morning of 23 April, strong NW winds in the vicinity of Katmai and the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes dispersed unconsolidated ash up to 1.8 km (6,000 ft) a.s.l. to the SE across Shelikof Strait to Kodiak Island. The ash was originally deposited during the Novarupta-Katmai eruption in 1912. The Volcano Alert Level remained at Normal (the lowest level on a four-level scale) and the Aviation Color Code remained at Green (the lowest level on a four-color scale).

Geological summary: Katmai was initially considered to be the source of the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes ash flow in 1912. However, the 3 x 4 km caldera of 1912 is now known to have formed as a result of the voluminous eruption at nearby Novarupta volcano. Prior to 1912 this compound stratovolcano had four NE-SW-trending summits, most of which were truncated by caldera collapse in that year. Two or more large explosive eruptions took place during the late Pleistocene. Most of the two overlapping pre-1912 Katmai volcanoes are Pleistocene, but Holocene lava flows from a flank vent descend the SE flank of the SW edifice into the Katmai River canyon. The steep walled young caldera has a jagged rim that rises 500-1,000 m above the caldera floor and contains a 250-m-deep, still-rising lake. Lake waters have covered a small post-collapse lava dome (Horseshoe Island) that was seen on the caldera floor at the time of the initial ascent to the caldera rim in 1916.

Lewotolok, Lembata Island

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

PVMBG reported that the eruption at Lewotolok was ongoing during 19-25 April. On 19, 21, and 23 April white-and-gray plumes rose 200-700 m and drifted E, NE, N, and NW. White steam-and-gas plumes of variable densities were seen during 20, 22, and 24-25 April rising as high as 500 m above the summit and drifting SW, W, and NW. Crater incandescence was visible in webcam images posted with the reports during 21-22 April. 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 19-25 April and seismicity remained at high levels. The SW lava dome produced more than 80 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.

Reventador, Ecuador

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

IG reported that the eruption at Reventador was ongoing during 19-25 April. Seismic activity was not characterized due to technical problems. Steam, gas, and ash plumes were observed in IG webcam images and described in Washington VAAC advisories on most days; weather conditions occasionally prevented views. The plumes rose as high as 1.6 km above the summit and drifted E, SE, W, and SW. Crater incandescence was visible at night during 20-21 April. 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 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.

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 17-23 April with a daily average of 31 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 18-25 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. Daily avalanches descended multiple flanks of the dome and were also occasionally generated from the lava-flow front and margins. Daily weak or weak-to-moderate explosions recorded by the seismic network generated ash plumes that rose as high as 1 km above the complex and drifted mainly S and SW. During 18-19 April ash fall was reported in Finca El Faro (6.7 km S). On 21 April quiet rumbling sounds were barely heard on nearby farms. Residents were reminded to stay away from the lava flow and at least 6 km away from the dome 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 18-25 April and frequent Volcano Observatory Notices for Aviation (VONAs) describing ash emissions were issued through the week. On 19 April at 0710 and 0829 dense white-and-gray ash plumes rose 800-1,000 m above the summit and drifted S. On 20 April at 0616, 0619, 0805, and 0902 white-and-gray variable density ash plumes rose 300-1,000 m and drifted N and NW. At 0534 on 21 April a white-to-brown ash plume rose 600 m and drifted NE and at 0640 a dense white-and-gray ash plume rose 700 m and drifted SW. On 23 April at 0448, 0553, 0643, and 0731 gray ash plumes of variable densities rose 400-1,000 m and drifted SE, S, SW, and W. On 25 April at 0519, 0710, and 0756 dense gray ash plumes rose 500-800 m and drifted NW, W, and SW. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a scale of 1-4). The public was warned to stay at least 5 km away from the summit 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 18-25 April. Daily periods or bursts of tremor and occasional low-frequency earthquakes were detected during the week. Small explosions were detected in seismic and infrasound data during 18-19 and 24-25 April. Cloudy weather prevented webcam and satellite views on most days. Possible recent ash deposits on Mount Young’s crater rim were visible in clear webcam images during 22-23 April, and steam emissions from the active N crater were visible during 22-25 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: 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 17-24 April. No explosions were recorded, but eruptive activity produced periodic ash plumes and ejected blocks as far as 300 m from the vent. On 17 April ash plumes rose 1-1.5 km above the crater rim and drifted E and SE, and on 18 April an ash plume rose 2 km and drifted N. Ashfall was reported in Toshima village (3.5 km SSW) during 17-21 April. On 23 April an ash plume rose 1.1 km and drifted SW. 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.

References:

Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report – April 19 – 25, 2023 – Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert

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