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Friday, September 30, 2011

World Volcanic Activity Update – El Hierro, Shiveluch, Kilauea, Mount Cleveland

MODIS satellite image of The Canary Islands on Tuesday 27 September 2011
MODIS satellite image of The Canary Islands on Tuesday 27 September 2011
Instituto Geográfico Nacional (IGN) reported more than 900 new seismic events at El Hierro during 20-26 September, five of them felt by residents. The maximum magnitude recorded was 3.4. The total number of located events had reached more than 8,100 since the anomalous activity began on 16 July. The rates of both GPS deformation and seismic energy release had significantly increased during the previous seven days. On 23 September, the Canarian Autonomous Government raised the Alert Code to Yellow.
Geologic Summary. The triangular island of Hierro is the SW-most and least studied of the Canary Islands. The massive Hierro shield volcano is truncated by a large NW-facing escarpment formed as a result of gravitational collapse of El Golfo volcano about 130,000 years ago. The steep-sided 1500-m-high scarp towers above a low lava platform bordering 12-km-wide El Golfo Bay, and three other large submarine landslide deposits occur to the SW and SE. Three prominent rifts oriented NW, NE, and south at 120 degree angles form prominent topographic ridges. The subaerial portion of the volcano consists of flat-lying Quaternary basaltic and trachybasaltic lava flows and tuffs capped by numerous young cinder cones and lava flows. Holocene cones and flows are found both on the outer flanks and in the El Golfo depression. Hierro contains the greatest concentration of young vents in the Canary Islands. Uncertainty surrounds the report of an historical eruption in 1793.
Map – Source: IGN – Hierro Information (Global Volcanism Program)
LEWOTOBI Flores Island (Indonesia) 8.542°S, 122.775°E; summit elev. 1703 m
CVGHM raised the Alert Level for Lewotobi Lakilaki, one of two stratovolcanoes composing Lewotobi, to 2 (on a scale of 1-4) on 22 September due to increased seismicity since 17 September and visual observations. Although no significant changes in the volcano were observed, diffuse white plumes rose 15 m above the crater. Visitors and residents were prohibited from going within a 1-km radius of Lewotobi Lakilaki.
Geologic Summary. The Lewotobi “husband and wife” twin volcano (also known as Lewetobi) in eastern Flores Island is composed of the Lewotobi Lakilaki and Lewotobi Perempuan stratovolcanoes. Their summits are less than 2 km apart along a NW-SE line. The conical 1,584-m-high Lewotobi Lakilaki has been frequently active during the 19th and 20th centuries, while the taller and broader 1,703-m-high Lewotobi Perempuan has erupted only twice in historical time. Small lava domes have grown during the 20th century in the crescentic summit craters of both volcanoes, which are open to the N. A prominent flank cone, Iliwokar, occurs on the E flank of Lewotobi Perampuan.
Lewotobi Information from the Global Volcanism Program
POPOCATEPETL México 19.023°N, 98.622°W; summit elev. 5426 m
Popocatepetl. Image Nasa
Popocatepetl. Image Nasa
During 21-25 September CENAPRED reported steam-and-gas emissions from Popocatépetl. An explosion on 26 September ejected incandescent fragments and produced an ash plume that rose 2.5 km above the crater. Following the explosion, a series of 11 gas-and-steam plumes containing small amounts of ash rose from the crater.
Geologic Summary. Popocatépetl, whose name is the Aztec word for smoking mountain, towers to 5,426 m 70 km SE of Mexico City and is North America’s second-highest volcano. Frequent historical eruptions have been recorded since the beginning of the Spanish colonial era. A small eruption on 21 December 1994 ended five decades of quiescence. Since 1996 small lava domes have incrementally been constructed within the summit crater and destroyed by explosive eruptions. Intermittent small-to-moderate gas-and-ash eruptions have continued, occasionally producing ashfall in neighboring towns and villages.
Popocatépetl Information from the Global Volcanism Program

Ongoing Activity

BATU TARA Komba Island (Indonesia) 7.792°S, 123.579°E; summit elev. 748 m
Batu Tara and the Lesser Sunda Islands as seen from the NASA MODIS satellite.
Batu Tara and the Lesser Sunda Islands as seen from the NASA MODIS satellite.
Based on analyses of satellite imagery, the Darwin VAAC reported that during 21-24 September ash plumes from Batu Tara rose to an altitude of 2.1 km (7,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted 37-65 km W, WNW, and NW.
Geologic Summary. The small isolated island of Batu Tara in the Flores Sea about 50 km north of Lembata (formerly Lomblen) Island contains a scarp on the eastern side similar to the Sciara del Fuoco of Italy’s Stromboli volcano. Vegetation covers the flanks of Batu Tara to within 50 m of the 748-m-high summit. Batu Tara lies north of the main volcanic arc and is noted for its potassic leucite-bearing basanitic and tephritic rocks. The first historical eruption from Batu Tara, during 1847-52, produced explosions and a lava flow.
Batu Tara Information from the Global Volcanism Program
CLEVELAND Chuginadak Island 52.825°N, 169.944°W; summit elev. 1730 m
Aerial photograph of Cleveland Volcano. Image  Kym Yano, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Aerial photograph of Cleveland Volcano. Image Kym Yano, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
AVO reported that during 20-21 September no observations of elevated surface temperatures or ash emissions from Cleveland were visible in partly cloudy satellite images. Clouds obscured views on 22 September. Elevated surface temperatures were observed in satellite images during 23-24 September, suggesting that the lava dome eruption was continuing. On 25 September AVO noted that elevated surface temperatures were not observed in several clear views of the volcano by satellite during the previous 24-hour period. Cloud cover prevented observations on 26 September.
Geologic Summary. Symmetrical Mount Cleveland stratovolcano is situated at the western end of the uninhabited dumbbell-shaped Chuginadak Island in the east-central Aleutians. The 1,730-m-high stratovolcano is the highest of the Islands of Four Mountains group and is one of the most active in the Aleutians. Numerous large lava flows descend its flanks. It is possible that some 18th to 19th century eruptions attributed to Carlisle (a volcano located across the Carlisle Pass Strait to the NW) should be ascribed to Cleveland. In 1944 Cleveland produced the only known fatality from an Aleutian eruption. Recent eruptions from Mt. Cleveland have been characterized by short-lived explosive ash emissions, at times accompanied by lava fountaining and lava flows down the flanks.
Cleveland Information from the Global Volcanism Program
DUKONO Halmahera 1.68°N, 127.88°E; summit elev. 1335 m
Dukono, Indonesia. Image Uwe Dedering
Dukono, Indonesia. Image Uwe Dedering
Based on analyses of satellite imagery, the Darwin VAAC reported that on 27 September ash plumes from Dukono rose to an altitude of 2.1 km (7,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted 75 km NW and NE.
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 N-flank cone of Gunung Mamuya. Dukono is a complex volcano presenting a broad, low profile with multiple summit peaks and overlapping craters. Malupang Wariang, 1 km SW of Dukono’s summit crater complex, contains a 700 x 570 m crater that has also been active during historical time.
Dukono Information from the Global Volcanism Program
KARYMSKY Eastern Kamchatka (Russia) 54.05°N, 159.45°E; summit elev. 1536 m
The scenic lake-filled Akademia Nauk caldera, seen here from the north with Karymsky volcano in the foreground. Photo by Dan Miller (U.S. Geological Survey).
The scenic lake-filled Akademia Nauk caldera, seen here from the north with Karymsky volcano in the foreground. Photo by Dan Miller (U.S. Geological Survey).
KVERT reported that seismic activity continued at a moderate level at Karymsky during 16-23 September and indicated that possible ash plumes rose to altitudes of 5-6 km (16,400-19,700 ft) a.s.l. during 16-17 September. A thermal anomaly was detected in satellite imagery during 16, 18, and 20 September. 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 about 7,600-7,700 radiocarbon years ago. Construction of the Karymsky stratovolcano began about 2,000 years later. The latest eruptive period began about 500 years ago, following a 2,300-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. Most seismicity preceding Karymsky eruptions has originated beneath Akademia Nauk caldera, which is located immediately S of Karymsky volcano and erupted simultaneously with Karymsky in 1996.
Karymsky Information from the Global Volcanism Program
KILAUEA Hawaii (USA) 19.421°N, 155.287°W; summit elev. 1222 m
MODIS image of Kilauea
MODIS image of Kilauea
During 21-27 September, HVO reported that the lava lake circulated and periodically rose and fell in the deep pit within Kilauea’s Halema’uma’u crater. Almost daily measurements indicated that the gas plume from the vent continued to deposit variable amounts of ash and occasionally fresh spatter nearby.
At the E rift zone, lava in the W lava lake in Pu’u ‘O’o Crater fed a series of lava flows that traveled down the W flank of Pu’u ‘O’o during 20-21 September. At about 0225 on 21 September activity in the crater and overflows to the W suddenly decreased, as lava broke through the upper E flank of Pu’u ‘O’o, bypassing the crater. The new fissure fed a channelized ‘a’a lava flow that advanced rapidly downslope 2.5 km SE. A second flow to the W of the first began the next day. In addition, a small pad of lava actively refilled the bottom of the drained E lava lake and small flows were barely active at the W edge of Pu’u ‘O’o Crater. The channelized ‘a’a lava flow reached 3.7 km long on 23 September and then stalled within the Kahauale’a Natural Area Reserve. Most of the active lava spread S and W of Pu’u Halulu (1.3 km NE of Pu’u ‘O’o) during 23-27 September. Minor lava activity resumed within Pu’u ‘O’o Crater with short lava flows issuing from the base of the E wall on 25 September and from the W wall base during 25-26 September. The crater floor of Pu’u ‘O’o slowly subsided. Lava activity resumed within the E lake on 26 September. The floor of the crater continued to subside during 26-27 September, opening up cracks in the N crater floor.
Geologic Summary. Kilauea, one of five coalescing volcanoes that comprise the island of Hawaii, is one of the world’s most active volcanoes. Eruptions at Kilauea originate primarily from the summit caldera or along one of the lengthy E and SW rift zones that extend from the caldera to the sea. About 90% of the surface of Kilauea is formed of lava flows less than about 1,100 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.
Kilauea Information from the Global Volcanism Program
KIZIMEN Eastern Kamchatka (Russia) 55.130°N, 160.32°E; summit elev. 2376 m
Kizimen Volcano ash plume, Russia. Image NASA
Kizimen Volcano ash plume, Russia. Image NASA
KVERT reported that during 16-23 September volcanic tremor magnitude at Kizimen continued to increase; 1,400-1,600 earthquakes were recorded daily. A thermal anomaly on the volcano was detected in satellite images. Lava on the E flank continued to flow and video images showed strong fumarolic activity. The Aviation Color Code remained at Orange.
Geologic Summary. Kizimen is an isolated, conical stratovolcano that is morphologically similar to Mount St. Helens prior to its 1980 eruption. The summit of Kizimen consists of overlapping lava domes, and blocky lava flows descend the flanks of the volcano, which is the westernmost of a volcanic chain north of Kronotsky volcano. The 2,376-m-high Kizimen was formed during four eruptive cycles beginning about 12,000 years ago and lasting 2,000-3,500 years. The largest eruptions took place about 10,000 and 8300-8400 years ago, and three periods of longterm lava-dome growth have occurred. The latest eruptive cycle began about 3,000 years ago with a large explosion and was followed by lava-dome growth lasting intermittently about 1,000 years. An explosive eruption about 1,100 years ago produced a lateral blast and created a 1.0 x 0.7 km wide crater breached to the NE, inside which a small lava dome (the fourth at Kizimen) has grown. A single explosive eruption, during 1927-28, has been recorded in historical time.
Kizimen Information from the Global Volcanism Program
PUYEHUE-CORDON CAULLE Central Chile 40.590°S, 72.117°W; summit elev. 2236 m
Ash Plume From Chilean Volcano Extends Over Atlantic Ocean, June 2011
Ash Plume From Chilean Volcano Extends Over Atlantic Ocean, June 2011. Image MODIS
Based on seismicity during 21-26 September, OVDAS-SERNAGEOMIN reported that the eruption from the Cordón Caulle rift zone, part of the Puyehue-Cordón Caulle volcanic complex, continued at a low level. Plumes observed by an area camera rose 3-5 km above the crater during 21-23 and 25 September and were visible in satellite images drifted 30-300 km NE, E, and SE during 21-26 September. The Alert Level remained at Red.
Geologic Summary. The Puyehue-Cordón Caulle volcanic complex (PCCVC) is a large NW-SE-trending late-Pleistocene to Holocene basaltic-to-rhyolitic transverse volcanic chain SE of Lago Ranco. The 1799-m-high Pleistocene Cordillera Nevada caldera lies at the NW end, separated from Puyehue stratovolcano at the SE end by the Cordón Caulle fissure complex. The Pleistocene Mencheca volcano with Holocene flank cones lies NE of Puyehue. The basaltic-to-rhyolitic Puyehue volcano is the most geochemically diverse of the PCCVC. The flat-topped, 2236-m-high Puyehue volcano was constructed above a 5-km-wide caldera and is capped by a 2.4-km-wide summit caldera of Holocene age. Lava flows and domes of mostly rhyolitic composition are found on the eastern flank of Puyehue. Historical eruptions originally attributed to Puyehue, including major eruptions in 1921-22 and 1960, are now known to be from the Cordón Caulle rift zone. The Cordón Caulle geothermal area, occupying a 6 x 13 km wide volcano-tectonic depression, is the largest active geothermal area of the southern Andes volcanic zone.
Puyehue-Cordón Caulle Information from the Global Volcanism Program
SAKURA-JIMA Kyushu 31.585°N, 130.657°E; summit elev. 1117 m
View of Sakurajima from mainland Kagoshima. Image TANAKA Juuyoh (talk)
View of Sakurajima from mainland Kagoshima. Image TANAKA Juuyoh (talk)
Based on information from JMA, the Tokyo VAAC reported that during 21-27 September explosions from Sakura-jima produced plumes that rose to altitudes of 1.5-2.7 km (5,000-9,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted SE, S, and W. On 22 September a pilot observed an ash plume that rose to an altitude of 1.8 km (6,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted SE.
Geologic Summary. Sakura-jima, one of Japan’s most active volcanoes, is a post-caldera cone of the Aira caldera at the northern half of Kagoshima Bay. Eruption of the voluminous Ito pyroclastic flow was associated with the formation of the 17 x 23-km-wide Aira caldera about 22,000 years ago. The construction of Sakura-jima began about 13,000 years ago and built an island that was finally joined to the Osumi Peninsula during the major explosive and effusive eruption of 1914. Activity at the Kita-dake summit cone ended about 4,850 years ago, after which eruptions took place at Minami-dake. 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.
Sakura-jima Information from the Global Volcanism Program
SHIVELUCH Central Kamchatka (Russia) 56.653°N, 161.360°E; summit elev. 3283 m
Shiveluch. Image MODIS
Shiveluch. Image MODIS
KVERT reported that seismic activity at Shiveluch was moderate during 16-23 September. A thermal anomaly on the volcano was also observed in satellite imagery on 15 and 18 September. Ground-based observers noted fumarolic activity during 18-20 September. The Aviation Color Code remained at Orange.
Based on information from KEMSD, the Tokyo VAAC reported that on 24 September an eruption produced a plume that rose to an altitude of 6.4 km (21,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted E. Subsequent images that day showed that the ash had dissipated.
Geologic Summary. The high, isolated massif of Shiveluch volcano (also spelled Sheveluch) rises above the lowlands NNE of the Kliuchevskaya volcano group and forms one of Kamchatka’s largest and most active volcanoes. The currently active Molodoy Shiveluch lava-dome complex was constructed during the Holocene within a large breached caldera formed by collapse of the massive late-Pleistocene Strary Shiveluch volcano. At least 60 large eruptions of Shiveluch have occurred during the Holocene, making it the most vigorous andesitic volcano of the Kuril-Kamchatka arc. Frequent collapses of lava-dome complexes, most recently in 1964, have produced large debris avalanches whose deposits cover much of the floor of the breached caldera. Intermittent explosive eruptions began in the 1990s from a new lava dome that began growing in 1980. The largest historical eruptions from Shiveluch occurred in 1854 and 1964.
Shiveluch Information from the Global Volcanism Program
SOUFRIERE HILLS Montserrat 16.72°N, 62.18°W; summit elev. 915 m
2009 ash and steam plume, Soufriere Hills Volcano. Image ISS-NASA
2009 ash and steam plume, Soufriere Hills Volcano. Image ISS-NASA
MVO reported that during 16-23 September activity at the Soufrière Hills lava dome was at a low level. On 19 September a pyroclastic flow occurred from the W side of the lava dome. The Hazard Level remained at 3.
Geologic Summary. The complex dominantly andesitic Soufrière Hills volcano occupies the southern half of the island of Montserrat. The summit area consists primarily of a series of lava domes emplaced along an ESE-trending zone. English’s Crater, a 1-km-wide crater breached widely to the E, was formed during an eruption about 4,000 years ago in which the summit collapsed, producing a large submarine debris avalanche. Block-and-ash flow and surge deposits associated with dome growth predominate in flank deposits at Soufrière Hills. Non-eruptive seismic swarms occurred at 30-year intervals in the 20th century, but with the exception of a 17th-century eruption that produced the Castle Peak lava dome, no historical eruptions were recorded on Montserrat until 1995. Long-term small-to-moderate ash eruptions beginning in that year were later accompanied by lava-dome growth and pyroclastic flows that forced evacuation of the southern half of the island and ultimately destroyed the capital city of Plymouth, causing major social and economic disruption.

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