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Active volcanoes in the world: September 14 – 20, 2016

Thursday, September 22, 2016 0:45
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(Before It's News)

New activity/unrest was reported for 5 volcanoes between September 14 and 20, 2016. During the same period, ongoing activity was observed at 9 volcanoes.

New activity/unrest: Bulusan, Luzon (Philippines) | Klyuchevskoy, Central Kamchatka (Russia) | Piton de la Fournaise, Reunion Island (France) | Turrialba, Costa Rica | White Island, North Island (New Zealand).

Ongoing activity: Colima, Mexico | Dukono, Halmahera (Indonesia) | Kilauea, Hawaiian Islands (USA) | Lokon-Empung, Sulawesi (Indonesia) | Nevado del Ruiz, Colombia | Santa Maria, Guatemala | Sheveluch, Central Kamchatka (Russia) | Sinabung, Indonesia | Suwanosejima, Ryukyu Islands (Japan).

New activity/unrest Bulusan, Luzon (Philippines)
12.77°N, 124.05°E, Elevation 1565 m

PHIVOLCS reported that, beginning at 1654 on 16 September, a four-minute-long phreatic explosion at Bulusan generated a dark gray ash plume that rose 1.5 km and drifted NE. Ashfall was reported in the municipalities of Casiguran, Gubat, and Barcelona. The Alert Level remained at 1, indicating abnormal conditions and a 4-km-radius Permanent Danger Zone (PDZ).

Geological summary: Luzon’s southernmost volcano, Bulusan, was constructed along the rim of the 11-km-diameter dacitic-to-rhyolitic Irosin caldera, which was formed about 36,000 years ago. Bulusan lies at the SE end of the Bicol volcanic arc occupying the peninsula of the same name that forms the elongated SE tip of Luzon. A broad, flat moat is located below the topographically prominent SW rim of Irosin caldera; the NE rim is buried by the andesitic Bulusan complex. Bulusan is flanked by several other large intracaldera lava domes and cones, including the prominent Mount Jormajan lava dome on the SW flank and Sharp Peak to the NE. The summit of 1565-m-high Bulusan volcano is unvegetated and contains a 300-m-wide, 50-m-deep crater. Three small craters are located on the SE flank. Many moderate explosive eruptions have been recorded at Bulusan since the mid-19th century.

Klyuchevskoy, Central Kamchatka (Russia)
56.056°N, 160.642°E, Elevation 4754 m

KVERT reported that a Strombolian eruption at Klyuchevskoy continued during 9-16 September. Volcanic bombs that were ejected above the summit crater and the cinder cone landed in the Apakhonchich drainage on the E flank. A lava flow traveled down the Apakhonchich drainage and also down the SW flank. Satellite images showed a large and bright daily thermal anomaly at the volcano. On 10, 13, and 15 September ash plumes rose as high as 7 km (23,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted 50 km NE and SE. The Aviation Color Code remained at Orange.

Geological summary: Klyuchevskoy (also spelled Kliuchevskoi) is Kamchatka’s highest and most active volcano. Since its origin about 6000 years ago, the beautifully symmetrical, 4835-m-high basaltic stratovolcano has produced frequent moderate-volume explosive and effusive eruptions without major periods of inactivity. It rises above a saddle NE of sharp-peaked Kamen volcano and lies SE of the broad Ushkovsky massif. More than 100 flank eruptions have occurred during the past roughly 3000 years, with most lateral craters and cones occurring along radial fissures between the unconfined NE-to-SE flanks of the conical volcano between 500 m and 3600 m elevation. The morphology of the 700-m-wide summit crater has been frequently modified by historical eruptions, which have been recorded since the late-17th century. Historical eruptions have originated primarily from the summit crater, but have also included numerous major explosive and effusive eruptions from flank craters.

Piton de la Fournaise, Reunion Island (France)
21.244°S, 55.708°E, Elevation 2632 m

OVPF reported that volcanic tremor at Piton de la Fournaise stabilized during 14-17 September. Field observations on 15 September revealed that the two volcanic cones that had formed on the lower part of the fissures had begun to coalesce. Lava from the northernmost cone flowed N and NE, and by 0900, was active midway between Piton Partage and Nez Coupé de Sainte Rose. The height of the lava fountains grew in the afternoon, rising as high as 60 m, likely from activity ceasing at the southernmost cone and focusing at one main cone. On 16 September the main cone continued to build around a 50-m-high lava fountain; lava flows from this vent traveled NE. Tremor rose during the night on 17 September, and then fell sharply at 0418 on 18 September, indicating the end of surficial activity. During 11-18 September the erupted volume was an estimated 7 million m3.

Geological summary: The massive Piton de la Fournaise basaltic shield volcano on the French island of Réunion in the western Indian Ocean is one of the world’s most active volcanoes. Much of its more than 530,000-year history overlapped with eruptions of the deeply dissected Piton des Neiges shield volcano to the NW. Three calderas formed at about 250,000, 65,000, and less than 5000 years ago by progressive eastward slumping of the volcano. Numerous pyroclastic cones dot the floor of the calderas and their outer flanks. Most historical eruptions have originated from the summit and flanks of Dolomieu, a 400-m-high lava shield that has grown within the youngest caldera, which is 8 km wide and breached to below sea level on the eastern side. More than 150 eruptions, most of which have produced fluid basaltic lava flows, have occurred since the 17th century. Only six eruptions, in 1708, 1774, 1776, 1800, 1977, and 1986, have originated from fissures on the outer flanks of the caldera. The Piton de la Fournaise Volcano Observatory, one of several operated by the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, monitors this very active volcano.

Turrialba, Costa Rica
10.025°N, 83.767°W, Elevation 3340 m

OVSICORI-UNA reported that starting at 0210 on 13 September ash emissions from Turrialba rose 300 m and drifted NNW. A small explosion was detected later that day at 1947. Small explosions were detected at 1804 and 2147 on 15 September. On 16 September small explosions were recorded at 0240, followed by three periods of passive ash emissions. An explosion at 1100 on 16 September generated an ash plume that rose 50 m above the crater and likely drifted S (inclement weather prevented visual observations). Ashfall was reported in the Parque Nacional Braulio Carrillo, and areas E of San José and Heredia including Ipís de Guadalupe. 

A series of gas-and-ash emissions began at 0958 on 17 September with an ash plume that rose 400 m above the crater and drifted NW. Plumes the rest of the day did not exceed that height, though an explosion at 2148 generated a plume that rose 500 m. Ash-and-gas emissions were recorded on 18 September; some plumes were observed rising as high as 500 m, although inclement weather hindered most observations. Explosions during four energetic periods on 19 September generated ash plumes that rose as high as 4 km. A sulfur odor and ashfall was reported in many communities in the Valle Central including those in San José (35 km WSW), Heredia (38 km W), Alajuela, and Cartago (25 km SW). According to news articles, flights in and out of the Juan Santamaría International Airport were canceled; the airport remained closed at least through the morning of 20 September. The Pavas San José Tobías Bolaños Airport was also temporarily closed. At night during 19-20 September ash emissions rose as high as 500 m and drifted WNW. Ash plumes during the rest of 20 September rose as high as 700 m. Plumes drifted NW and NE.

Geological summary: Turrialba, the easternmost of Costa Rica’s Holocene volcanoes, is a large vegetated basaltic-to-dacitic stratovolcano located across a broad saddle NE of Irazú volcano overlooking the city of Cartago. The massive 3340-m-high Turrialba is exceeded in height only by Irazú, covers an area of 500 sq km, and is one of Costa Rica’s most voluminous volcanoes. Three well-defined craters occur at the upper SW end of a broad 800 x 2200 m summit depression that is breached to the NE. Most activity originated from the summit vent complex, but two pyroclastic cones are located on the SW flank. Five major explosive eruptions have occurred during the past 3500 years. A series of explosive eruptions during the 19th century were sometimes accompanied by pyroclastic flows. Fumarolic activity continues at the central and SW summit craters.

White Island, North Island (New Zealand)
37.52°S, 177.18°E, Elevation 321 m

Based on field observations of White Island on 14 September, GeoNet reported that the eruption which had occurred the day before had ceased. An analysis of collected ash deposits revealed no juvenile components. Seismic and acoustic activity remained low, and gas flux had not changed since before the eruption. On 15 September the Volcanic Alert Level was lowered to 2 and the Aviation Colour Code was lowered to Yellow. Observations during 17-18 September suggested no new sustained ash emissions (web camera images indicated that very minor amounts of ash may have been present in the steam plumes); the Volcanic Alert Level was lowered to 1.

Geological summary: Uninhabited 2 x 2.4 km White Island, one of New Zealand’s most active volcanoes, is the emergent summit of a 16 x 18 km submarine volcano in the Bay of Plenty about 50 km offshore of North Island. The 321-m-high island consists of two overlapping andesitic-to-dacitic stratovolcanoes; the summit crater appears to be breached to the SE because the shoreline corresponds to the level of several notches in the SE crater wall. Volckner Rocks, four sea stacks that are remnants of a lava dome, lie 5 km NNE of White Island. Intermittent moderate phreatomagmatic and strombolian eruptions have occurred at White Island throughout the short historical period beginning in 1826, but its activity also forms a prominent part of Maori legends. Formation of many new vents during the 19th and 20th centuries has produced rapid changes in crater floor topography. Collapse of the crater wall in 1914 produced a debris avalanche that buried buildings and workers at a sulfur-mining project.

Ongoing activity Colima, Mexico
19.514°N, 103.62°W, Elevation 3850 m

Based on webcam and satellite images, and information from the Mexico City MWO, the Washington VAAC reported an ash emission from Colima on 18 September. Ash plumes rose to altitudes of 4.3-5.5 km (14,000-18,000 ft) a.s.l. during 19-20 September.

Geological 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.

Dukono, Halmahera (Indonesia)
1.693°N, 127.894°E, Elevation 1229 m

Based on analyses of satellite imagery and model data, the Darwin VAAC reported that during 14-19 September ash plumes from Dukono rose to altitudes of 2.4-3 km (8,000-10,000 ft) a.s.l. and, on some days, drifted as far as 250 km NE, E, ESE, and SE.

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.

Kilauea, Hawaiian Islands (USA)
19.421°N, 155.287°W, Elevation 1222 m

During 14-20 September HVO reported that the lava lake continued to rise and fall, circulate, and spatter in Kilauea’s Overlook vent. The lake level fluctuated between 11 and 28 m below the Halema?uma?u floor, and was sometimes visible from the Jaggar Museum (NW rim of Kilauea Caldera). A drop in the lake level during 16-17 September caused several collapses of solidified lava that had adhered to the crater walls. The 61G lava flow, originating from a vent on Pu’u ‘O’o Crater’s E flank, continued to enter the ocean at multiple locations near Kamokuna. Scattered breakouts were active 2 km inland from the coast.

Geological 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 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.

Lokon-Empung, Sulawesi (Indonesia)
1.358°N, 124.792°E, Elevation 1580 m

Although inclement weather sometimes obscured views of Lokon-Empung’s Tompaluan Crater, PVMBG reported that during 1-14 September observers at the post in Kakaskasen Tomohon (North Sulawesi, 4 km from the crater) saw white plumes rising as high as 250 m above the crater. The number of shallow volcanic earthquakes was the highest on 1 September (20 recorded), and then fluctuated between 1 and 4 per day during 2-14 September. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4). Residents and tourists were reminded not to approach the crater within a radius of 1.5 km.

Geological summary: The twin volcanoes Lokon and Empung, rising about 800 m above the plain of Tondano, are among the most active volcanoes of Sulawesi. Lokon, the higher of the two peaks (whose summits are only 2 km apart), has a flat, craterless top. The morphologically younger Empung volcano to the NE has a 400-m-wide, 150-m-deep crater that erupted last in the 18th century, but all subsequent eruptions have originated from Tompaluan, a 150 x 250 m wide double crater situated in the saddle between the two peaks. Historical eruptions have primarily produced small-to-moderate ash plumes that have occasionally damaged croplands and houses, but lava-dome growth and pyroclastic flows have also occurred. A ridge extending WNW from Lokon includes Tatawiran and Tetempangan peak, 3 km away.

Nevado del Ruiz, Colombia
4.892°N, 75.324°W, Elevation 5279 m

Based on notices from the Bogota MWO and model data, the Washington VAAC reported that on 15 September an ash plume from Nevado del Ruiz rose to an altitude of 6.1 km (20,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted W.

Geological summary: Nevado del Ruiz is a broad, glacier-covered volcano in central Colombia that covers >200 sq km. 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.

Santa Maria, Guatemala
14.756°N, 91.552°W, Elevation 3772 m

INSIVUMEH reported that a strong Vulcanian explosion at 2140 on 17 September generated a dense ash plume that rose 2.5 km above Santa María’s Santiaguito lava-dome complex and drifted 30 km SW. Another large explosion occurred during 17-18 September that also produced a 2.5-km-high ash plume. Five more moderate explosions were also detected. A moderate explosion during the evening of 19 September produced an ash plume that rose 800 m and drifted SW. Ashfall was reported in San Marcos Palajunoj.

Geological summary: Symmetrical, forest-covered Santa María volcano is one of the most prominent of a chain of large stratovolcanoes that rises dramatically above the Pacific coastal plain of Guatemala. The 3772-m-high stratovolcano has a sharp-topped, conical profile that is cut on the SW flank by a large, 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 westward-younging vents, the most recent of which is Caliente. Dome growth has been accompanied by almost continuous minor explosions, with periodic lava extrusion, larger explosions, pyroclastic flows, and lahars.

Sheveluch, Central Kamchatka (Russia)
56.653°N, 161.36°E, Elevation 3283 m

KVERT reported that during 9-16 September lava-dome extrusion onto Sheveluch’s N flank was accompanied by strong fumarolic activity, dome incandescence,ash explosions, and hot avalanches. Satellite images showed a daily thermal anomaly over the dome. The Aviation Color Code remained at Orange.

Geological 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.

Sinabung, Indonesia
3.17°N, 98.392°E, Elevation 2460 m

Based on ground reports from PVMBG, the Darwin VAAC reported that on 17 September an ash plume from Sinabung rose to an altitude of 3.3 km (11,000 ft)a.s.l. and drifted E.

Geological 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.

Suwanosejima, Ryukyu Islands (Japan)
29.638°N, 129.714°E, Elevation 796 m

The Tokyo VAAC reported an explosion at Suwanosejima on 15 September. An explosion on 17 September produced an ash plume that rose to an altitude of 2.7 km (9,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted W.

Geological summary: The 8-km-long, spindle-shaped island of Suwanosejima in the northern Ryukyu Islands consists of an andesitic stratovolcano with two historically active summit craters. The summit of the volcano is truncated by a large breached crater extending to the sea on the east flank that was formed by edifice collapse. Suwanosejima, one of Japan’s most frequently active volcanoes, was in a state of intermittent strombolian activity from Otake, the NE summit crater, that began in 1949 and lasted until 1996, after which periods of inactivity lengthened. The largest historical 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 horseshoe-shaped 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.

Source: GVP

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