Monday, July 11, 2016

[ Volcano ] Smithsonian / USGS Weekly Volcanic Activity Report 12-18 August 2015

Smithsonian / USGS Weekly Volcanic Activity Report 12-18 August 2015
From: "Kuhn, Sally" <>
Smithsonian / USGS Weekly Volcanic Activity Report
12-18 August 2015
Sally Kuhn Sennert - Weekly Report Editor (
New Activity/Unrest: Aira, Kyushu (Japan)  | Cleveland, Chuginadak Island (USA)  | Cotopaxi, Ecuador  | Raung, Eastern Java (Indonesia)
Ongoing Activity: Colima, Mexico  | Dukono, Halmahera (Indonesia)  | Fuego, Guatemala  | Karymsky, Eastern Kamchatka (Russia)  | Kilauea, Hawaiian Islands (USA)  | Semeru, Eastern Java (Indonesia)  | Sheveluch, Central Kamchatka (Russia)  | Shishaldin, Fox Islands (USA)  | Sinabung, Indonesia | Ubinas, Peru
The Weekly Volcanic Activity Report is a cooperative project between the Smithsonian's Global Volcanism Program and the US Geological Survey's Volcano Hazards Program. Updated by 2300 UTC every Wednesday, notices of volcanic activity posted on these pages are preliminary and subject to change as events are studied in more detail. This is not a comprehensive list of all of Earth's volcanoes erupting during the week, but rather a summary of activity at volcanoes that meet criteria discussed in detail in the "Criteria and Disclaimers" section. Carefully reviewed, detailed reports on various volcanoes are published monthly in the Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network.
Note: Many news agencies do not archive the articles they post on the Internet, and therefore the links to some sources may not be active. To obtain information about the cited articles that are no longer available on the Internet contact the source.
New Activity/Unrest
Aira  | Kyushu (Japan)  | 31.593°N, 130.657°E  | Summit elev. 1117 m
On 15 August JMA reported an increase in the frequency of volcanic earthquakes detected under Minami-Dake Crater (Aira Caldera's Sakurajima volcano) and that inflation became more rapid. This activity suggested an increase in the possibility of larger-scale explosions, prompting JMA to raise the Alert Level to 4 (on a 5-level scale). Elevated activity continued to be detected through 18 August.
Geologic 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.
Source: Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA)
Cleveland  | Chuginadak Island (USA)  | 52.825°N, 169.944°W  | Summit elev. 1730 m
AVO reported that no unusual seismicity was detected at Cleveland during 12-18 August. Weather clouds prevented satellite and webcam views most days. On 18 August elevated surface temperatures were detected in satellite images and minor steam emissions were recorded by the webcam. The Aviation Color Code remained at Orange and the Volcano Alert Level remained at Watch.
Geologic Summary. Beautifully symmetrical Mount Cleveland stratovolcano is situated at the western end of the uninhabited, dumbbell-shaped Chuginadak Island. It lies SE across Carlisle Pass strait from Carlisle volcano and NE across Chuginadak Pass strait from Herbert volcano. Cleveland is joined to the rest of Chuginadak Island by a low isthmus. The 1730-m-high Mount Cleveland is the highest of the Islands of the Four Mountains group and is one of the most active of the Aleutian Islands. The native name for Mount Cleveland, Chuginadak, refers to the Aleut goddess of fire, who was thought to reside on the volcano. Numerous large lava flows descend the steep-sided flanks. It is possible that some 18th-to-19th century eruptions attributed to Carlisle should be ascribed to Cleveland (Miller et al., 1998). In 1944 Cleveland produced the only known fatality from an Aleutian eruption. Recent eruptions have been characterized by short-lived explosive ash emissions, at times accompanied by lava fountaining and lava flows down the flanks.
Source: US Geological Survey Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO)
Cotopaxi  | Ecuador  | 0.677°S, 78.436°W  | Summit elev. 5911 m
On 14 August IG reported an earthquake swarm at Cotopaxi that began at 1721 and ended at 1806; the largest event, detected at 1723, was a M 2.7. A series of phreatic explosions on 15 August started with two small ones detected at 0402 and 0407. According to the Washington VAAC, ash plumes rose to altitudes of 12.2-13.7 km (40,000-45,000 ft) a.s.l.; lower parts of the plume drifted E and higher parts drifted SE. Ashfall occurred in areas to the N. IG noted that an explosion at 1027 generated an ash plumes that rose to an altitude of 17.9 km (58,700 ft) a.s.l. and drifted NW and E. A pyroclastic flow descended the W flank. The VAAC initially reported that ash from that event drifted 17 km W, 20 km NNW, and 8 km SE, and that plumes may have risen as high as 15.2 km (50,000 ft) a.s.l. and possibly higher. According to news articles, ashfall was reported in El Chasqui (48 km N), Machachi (22 km NW), Tambillo (32 km NNW), and in areas in S Quito (~45 km N) including Cutuglagua, Guamaní, Chillogallo, Santa Barbara, and Solanda. Parts of the Cotopaxi National Park was closed to visitors.
During 15-16 August sulfur dioxide emissions were high, and remobilized ash from the W flank rose up to 3.3 km; no ashfall was reported and only minor amounts of a sulfur odor were noted by residents. Ash plumes rose 300 m on 17 August and drifted W; at 1824 an ash emission rose 700 m and drifted W. During times of clear views observers noted that winds pushed ash plumes down the W flank.
Geologic Summary. Symmetrical, glacier-clad 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 as far as the base of Cotopaxi. The modern conical volcano has been constructed since a major edifice collapse sometime prior to about 5000 years ago. Pyroclastic flows (often confused in historical accounts with lava flows) have accompanied many explosive eruptions of Cotopaxi, and lahars have frequently devastated adjacent valleys. The most violent historical 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. The last significant eruption of Cotopaxi took place in 1904.
Sources: Instituto Geofísico-Escuela Politécnica Nacional (IG);
Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC);
El Comercio
Raung  | Eastern Java (Indonesia)  | 8.125°S, 114.042°E  | Summit elev. 3332 m
PVMBG reported that the eruption at Raung was ongoing during 24 July-10 August. Ash plumes rose 1.5 km above the crater and crater incandescence was visible. Seismicity fluctuated but remained elevated; RSAM values peaked on 4 August (the highest recorded since the beginning of the eruption) and then decreased again. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a scale of 1-4), and the public was reminded not to approach the crater within a 3-km radius. Based on satellite observations and wind data, the Darwin VAAC reported that during 12-14, 16, and 18 August multiple ash plumes from Raung rose to altitudes of 3.7-4 km (12,000-13,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted 20-110 km W and WSW.
Geologic Summary. Raung, one of Java's most active volcanoes, is a massive stratovolcano in easternmost Java that was constructed SW of the rim of Ijen caldera. The 3332-m-high, unvegetated summit of Gunung Raung is truncated by a dramatic steep-walled, 2-km-wide caldera that has been the site of frequent historical eruptions. A prehistoric collapse of Gunung Gadung on the W flank produced a large debris avalanche that traveled 79 km, reaching nearly to the Indian Ocean. Raung contains several centers constructed along a NE-SW line, with Gunung Suket and Gunung Gadung stratovolcanoes being located to the NE and W, respectively.
Sources: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as CVGHM);
Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC)
Ongoing Activity
Colima  | Mexico  | 19.514°N, 103.62°W  | Summit elev. 3850 m
Based on satellite images, webcam views, and notices from the Mexico City MWO, the Washington VAAC reported that during 12-16 August some of the daily ash emissions from Colima rose to altitudes of 4.9-5.8 km (16,000-19,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted W and SW. On 18 August an ash plume rose to an altitude of 5.2 km (17,000 ft) a.s.l. and slowly drifted W.
Geologic Summary. The Colima volcanic complex is the most prominent volcanic center of the western Mexican Volcanic Belt. It consists of two southward-younging volcanoes, Nevado de Colima (the 4320 m high point of the complex) on the north and the 3850-m-high historically active Volcán de Colima at the south. A group of cinder cones of late-Pleistocene age is located on the floor of the Colima graben west and east of the Colima complex. Volcán de Colima (also known as Volcán Fuego) is a youthful stratovolcano constructed within a 5-km-wide caldera, breached to the south, that has been the source of large debris avalanches. Major slope failures have occurred repeatedly from both the Nevado and Colima cones, and have produced a thick apron of debris-avalanche deposits on three sides of the complex. Frequent historical eruptions date back to the 16th century. Occasional major explosive eruptions (most recently in 1913) have destroyed the summit and left a deep, steep-sided crater that was slowly refilled and then overtopped by lava dome growth.
Source: Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC)
Dukono  | Halmahera (Indonesia)  | 1.68°N, 127.88°E  | Summit elev. 1335 m
Based on analyses of satellite imagery and wind data, the Darwin VAAC reported that during 12 and 14-18 August ash plumes from Dukono rose to altitudes of 1.8-2.1 km (6,000-7,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted as far as 185 km W, N, NE, and E.
Geologic 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.
Source: Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC)
Fuego  | Guatemala  | 14.473°N, 90.88°W  | Summit elev. 3763 m
Based on INSIVUMEH notices, CONRED reported that moderate levels of activity at Fuego had been detected since 9 August. During 12-13 August there were eight explosions identified, along with rumbling and shock waves. Ash plumes rose 350 m above the crater. Incandescent material was ejected 200 m high, and avalanches descended the Las Lajas (SE), Trinidad (S), Taniluyá (SW), and Santa Teresa (W) drainages.
Geologic Summary. Volcán Fuego, one of Central America's most active volcanoes, is one of three large stratovolcanoes overlooking Guatemala's former capital, Antigua. The scarp of an older edifice, Meseta, lies between 3763-m-high Fuego and its twin volcano to the north, Acatenango. 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 Acatenango. In contrast to 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.
Source: Coordinadora Nacional para la Reducción de Desastres (CONRED)
Karymsky  | Eastern Kamchatka (Russia)  | 54.049°N, 159.443°E  | Summit elev. 1513 m
KVERT reported that moderate explosive activity at Karymsky continued during 7-14 August. Satellite images detected a thermal anomaly on 6 August and ash plumes that drifted 25 km SW on 8 August. The Aviation Color Code remained at Orange.
Geologic Summary. Karymsky, the most active volcano of Kamchatka's eastern volcanic zone, is a symmetrical stratovolcano constructed within a 5-km-wide caldera that formed during the early Holocene. The caldera cuts the south side of the Pleistocene Dvor volcano and is located outside the north margin of the large mid-Pleistocene Polovinka caldera, which contains the smaller Akademia Nauk and Odnoboky calderas. Most seismicity preceding Karymsky eruptions originated beneath Akademia Nauk caldera, located immediately south. The caldera enclosing Karymsky formed about 7600-7700 radiocarbon years ago; construction of the stratovolcano began about 2000 years later. The latest eruptive period began about 500 years ago, following a 2300-year quiescence. Much of the cone is mantled by lava flows less than 200 years old. Historical eruptions have been vulcanian or vulcanian-strombolian with moderate explosive activity and occasional lava flows from the summit crater.
Source: Kamchatkan Volcanic Eruption Response Team (KVERT)
Kilauea  | Hawaiian Islands (USA)  | 19.421°N, 155.287°W  | Summit elev. 1222 m
HVO reported that seismicity at Kilauea remained at background levels during 12-18 August. The lava lake continued to circulate and spatter in the Overlook vent. Webcams recorded multiple incandescent outgassing vents within Pu'u 'O'o. The June 27th NE-trending lava flow continued to be active in three areas with surface flows within 4-8 km NE of Pu'u 'O'o Crater; smoke plumes from burning vegetation marked the most distal flows.
Geologic Summary. Kilauea volcano, which overlaps the east flank of the massive Mauna Loa shield volcano, has been Hawaii's most active volcano during historical time. Eruptions of Kilauea are prominent in Polynesian legends; written documentation extending back to only 1820 records frequent summit and flank lava flow eruptions that were interspersed with periods of long-term lava lake activity that lasted until 1924 at Halemaumau crater, within the summit caldera. The 3 x 5 km caldera was formed in several stages about 1500 years ago and during the 18th century; eruptions have also originated from the lengthy East and SW rift zones, which extend to the sea on both sides of the volcano. About 90% of the surface of the basaltic shield volcano is formed of lava flows less than about 1100 years old; 70% of the volcano's surface is younger than 600 years. A long-term eruption from the East rift zone that began in 1983 has produced lava flows covering more than 100 sq km, destroying nearly 200 houses and adding new coastline to the island.
Source: US Geological Survey Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO)
Semeru  | Eastern Java (Indonesia)  | 8.108°S, 112.92°E  | Summit elev. 3676 m
PVMBG reported that during 16 July-10 August both white plumes and gray-to-brownish plumes from Semeru were observed rising as high as 600 m above the crater and drifting W and E; inclement weather sometimes prevented observations. Rockslides from the crater traveled 300 m down the flanks. Seismicity was dominated by explosions and emission signals. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale from 1-4); visitors and residents were warned to avoid the SE flank within 4 km of the crater.
Geologic 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 abruptly to 3676 m 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. Semeru has been in almost continuous eruption since 1967.
Source: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as CVGHM)
Sheveluch  | Central Kamchatka (Russia)  | 56.653°N, 161.36°E  | Summit elev. 3283 m
KVERT reported that during 7-14 August lava-dome extrusion onto Sheveluch's N flank was accompanied by fumarolic activity, dome incandescence, and hot avalanches. Satellite images detected a daily thermal anomaly over the dome. The Aviation Color Code remained at Orange.
Geologic Summary. The high, isolated massif of Sheveluch volcano (also spelled Shiveluch) rises above the lowlands NNE of the Kliuchevskaya volcano group. The 1300 cu km volcano is one of Kamchatka's largest and most active volcanic structures. 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 dot its outer flanks. The Molodoy Shiveluch lava dome complex was constructed during the Holocene within the large horseshoe-shaped caldera; Holocene lava dome extrusion also took place on the flanks of Stary Shiveluch. At least 60 large eruptions have occurred during the Holocene, making it the most vigorous andesitic volcano of the Kuril-Kamchatka arc. 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.
Source: Kamchatkan Volcanic Eruption Response Team (KVERT)
Shishaldin  | Fox Islands (USA)  | 54.756°N, 163.97°W  | Summit elev. 2857 m
AVO reported that seismicity at Shishaldin continued to be elevated over background levels during 12-18 August, indicating that low-level eruptive activity confined to the summit crater continued. Cloud cover mostly prevented satellite and webcam observations; elevated surface temperatures were detected in satellite images on 13 August. The Aviation Color Code remained at Orange and the Volcano Alert Level remained at Watch.
Geologic Summary. The beautifully symmetrical volcano of Shishaldin is the highest and one of the most active volcanoes of the Aleutian Islands. The 2857-m-high, glacier-covered volcano is the westernmost of three large stratovolcanoes along an E-W line in the eastern half of Unimak Island. The Aleuts named the volcano Sisquk, meaning "mountain which points the way when I am lost." A steady steam plume rises from its small summit crater. Constructed atop an older glacially dissected volcano, it is Holocene in age and largely basaltic in composition. Remnants of an older ancestral volcano are exposed on the west and NE sides at 1500-1800 m elevation. There are over two dozen pyroclastic cones on its NW flank, which is blanketed by massive aa lava flows. Frequent explosive activity, primarily consisting of strombolian ash eruptions from the small summit crater, but sometimes producing lava flows, has been recorded since the 18th century.
Source: US Geological Survey Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO)
Sinabung  | Indonesia  | 3.17°N, 98.392°E  | Summit elev. 2460 m
PVMBG reported that during 31 July-10 August foggy weather sometimes prevented visual observations of Sinabung and the growing lava dome in the summit crater. White plumes rose as high as 500 m above the crater, and lava flows on the flanks were incandescent as far as 2 km S to SE. The occurrence of pyroclastic flows per day ranged from one to seven, although none were noted on 8 August. The pyroclastic flows traveled as far as 4 km E to SE and generated ash plumes that rose as high as 3 km. Seismicity consisted of avalanche signals, low-frequency and hybrid events, tremor, tectonic events, and volcanic earthquakes; RSAM values increased due to an increase of avalanche signals. Based on information from PVMBG, the Darwin VAAC reported that on 13 August a pyroclastic flow generated an ash plume that rose 1 km above the crater. A thermal anomaly was visible in satellite images. The Alert Level remained at 4 (on a scale of 1-4), indicating that people within 7 km of the volcano on the SSE sector, and within 6 km in the ESE sector, should evacuate.
Geologic Summary. Gunung Sinabung is a Pleistocene-to-Holocene stratovolcano with many lava flows on its flanks. The migration of summit vents along a N-S line gives the summit crater complex an elongated form. The youngest crater of this conical, 2460-m-high andesitic-to-dacitic volcano is at the southern end of the four overlapping summit craters. An unconfirmed eruption was noted in 1881, and solfataric activity was seen at the summit and upper flanks in 1912. No confirmed historical eruptions were recorded prior to explosive eruptions during August-September 2010 that produced ash plumes to 5 km above the summit.
Sources: Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as CVGHM);
Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC)
Ubinas  | Peru  | 16.355°S, 70.903°W  | Summit elev. 5672 m
Instituto Geofísico del Perú (IGP) Observatorio Volcanológico del Sur (OVS) reported increased seismicity at Ubinas during 12-18 August, specifically an increase in the frequency of volcano-tectonic and hybrid signals. At 1016 on 15 August an ash-and-steam plume rose 1.6 km above the crater base. White and blue gas emissions rose from the crater on other days.
Geologic Summary. A small, 1.4-km-wide caldera cuts the top of Ubinas, Peru'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 of Perú. The growth and destruction of Ubinas I was followed by 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 3700 years ago extend 10 km from the volcano. Widespread plinian pumice-fall deposits include one of Holocene age about 1000 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.
Source: Instituto Geofísico del Perú (IGP)


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