Worldwide VOLCANO news – Now moved to a special category

Last update: July 2, 2012 at 8:57 am by By

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This article is written by Richard Wilson and Armand Vervaeck


Important News
Due to the great daily contributions of the activity of the Volcanoes of both American continents by geologist Richard Wilson, this page will be transformed to an (almost) daily page starting next week.
Our more detailed volcano activity reports have been moved to a new category “Daily Volcano Activity”

June 22, 2012

Still pretty quiet on the volcano front.

Strong tremor at Nevado Del Ruiz volcano (Colombia) has simmered again, but volcanic earthquakes are apparent in recent seismograms there (station OLLE).

Pulses of tremor have disappeared from records at Galeras volcano (Colombia), but small earthquakes continue (station ANGV).

Jon Frimann (Iceland Earthquakes and Volcanoes blog) reports a cluster of 30 earthquakes at Katla volcano.

Spasmodic tremor is currently rattling Popocatepetl volcano (Mexico), but surface activity is relatively low.

Popocatepetl volcano Mexico

June 21, 2012

A fairly slow day in volcanoland today.

Interesting (scientifically) activity occurred at Nevado del Ruiz (Colombia) where strong tremor abruptly diminished between 2 UTC and 12 UTC today before increasing again.  The volcano is now issuing an impressive plume of SO2.

S02 plume from Nevado del Ruiz, Colombia

At Tungurahua (Ecuador) tremor also is on the increase (station RETU).

Elsewhere, small earthquakes continue at or near Mount Martin (AK), Mount Saint Helens (WA), Kilauea volcano (HI) and Galeras (Colombia) (station ANGV).

June 20, 2012

Today, the earthquake swarm at Popocatepetl (Mexico) that was dwindling yesterday at the volcano, re-juvenated and merged into strong spasmodic tremor.  We are unable to access the CENAPRED website to verify eruptive activity, but it wouldn’t be surprising.

To the south, a burst of tremor suggests eruptive activity at Fuego (Guatemala).

Strong tremor with interspersed earthquakes continues at Nevado Del Ruiz (Colombia) (station OLLE).

Tremor has diminished at Galeras (Colombia) over the past few days, but small earthquakes continue.

Episodes of eruption tremor continue at Tungurahua (Ecuador) also (station RETU).

The intra-crater lava dome which had stopped growing at Cleveland volcano (AK) several month ago exploded (as they often do) yesterday.  The explosion produced an ash cloud that rose to approximately 35,000 ft. asl..

Northeast of Papua New Guinea (SW Pacific) 4.080°S, 145.037°E; summit elev. 1807 m
RVO reported low-to-moderate activity from Manam’s Southern Crater during 1-15 June. Emissions consisted of gray and sometimes black ash clouds that rose from the crater on most days. Plumes drifted SE on 2 June and NW during 6-15 June. Ash fell in areas downwind between Yassa (WSW) and Baliau (NNW), and Warisi (ESE). Incandescent material was ejected from the crater, and roaring and rumbling noises were noted. Pyroclastic flows on 16 June (at 0700, 0720, 0722, and 0729) channeled into the SE valley. The last pyroclastic flow was perhaps the largest as it reached the lowest elevation, 300-400 m above sea level, but was far from populated areas. Ash plumes from the pyroclastic flows drifted WSW and WNW; ash fell in Bogia (22 km SSW, on the mainland). Emissions from Main Crater were milder and mostly characterized by white and bluish plumes. Light gray plumes were noted during 2 and 8-9 June. Fluctuating incandescence was intermittently observed and ash fell in the NW part of the island.

Pantar Island (Indonesia) 8.508°S, 124.13°E; summit elev. 862 m
CVGHM reported that during 1-13 June diffuse white plumes from Sirung rose 30-70 m above the crater. A sulfur odor was occasionally noted at the Sirung observation post. Based on seismic activity and visual observations, on 15 June CVGHM reiterated that the Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4).Visitors and tourists were not permitted to go within a 1.5 km radius of Sirung.

June 19, 2012

Volcanic activity appears relatively low compared with the past weeks.  Today, a small, 1-2 days-long volcano-tectonic earthquake swarm ended at or near Popocatepetl (Mexico). It was also a period where spasmodic tremor and ash emissions had ebbed.

Strong tremor at Nevado del Ruiz (Colombia) continues, but has become more staccato with interspersed volcanic earthquakes as well. Erik Klemetti (Eruptions Blog) has reported that the ash erupted so far at Ruiz is non-juvenile. Thus, eruptions at the volcano (again so far!) are strictly hydrothermal in nature.  SO2 output and strong volcanic tremor recorded at the volcano in the past weeks confirms “active” magma at shallow depth beneath the mountain though. (station OLLE)

Eruptions seem to be picking-up at Tungurahua (Ecuador).  More occurred today. (station RETU)

Small earthquakes continue around Long Valley Caldera (CA) and Galeras volcano (Colombia).

June 18, 2012

Small earthquakes continue in and around the South Moat of Long Valley Caldera (CA, USA) today (station MCS and diagrams)

Seismicity at Long Valley Caldera, California, USA on June 18


Long Valley Caldera, Mammoth Lakes, California - Location of earthquakes on June 18


Long Valley Caldera California, USA - earthquake depths of the preceeding days

A single M2.7 earthquake struck beneath the Mallard Lake (northeast) resurgent dome at Yellowstone Caldera (WY, USA).

Another episode of strong tremor occurred earlier today at Fuego volcano (Guatemala) suggesting additional eruptive activity there (station FG3).

Tremor at Fuego volcano, Guatemala on June 18

Pulses of tremor and small earthquakes continue to rattle Galeras volcano in Colombia (station ANG).

Earthquakes and tremor at Galeras Volcano Colombia

Nearby Nevado del Ruiz volcano continues to rumble with strong tremor and emit clouds of SO2 (station OLLE and diagram).

Tremor and SO2 emission at Nevado del Ruiz Colombia

At Popocatepetl (Mexico), intermittent tremor suggests small ash emissions continue at the volcano, even though inclement weather has hampered volcano-watching there (photo).

June 18 Popocatepetl, Mexico ash explosions

An ongoing (since June 10) episode of small earthquakes continues near Mount Martin, part of the Katmai group of volcanoes (AK).

June 17, 2012

A little more volcanic activity to report today.

Along with the usual strong tremor at Nevado Del Ruiz (Colombia), intermittent tremor and small earthquakes at Galeras (Colombia), as well as intermittent tremor and small ash emissions at Popocatepetl (Mexico),…

Tremor and slightly enhanced SO2 output suggest eruptive activity at Tungurahua (Ecuador) (station RETU seismogram).

An episode of strong tremor also suggests an eruption occurred at Fuego (Guatemala) earlier today (station FG3 seismogram).

Jon Frimmann (Icelandic Volcano and Earthquake Blog) reports a possible jokulhaup from the crater lake at Grimsvotn volcano.

Occasional small earthquakes continue beneath the South Moat of Long Valley Caldera (CA), including a cluster of events along the southern edge of the caldera’s resurgent dome earlier today (station MCS).

Tungurahua June 17 - SO2 detection map

Tungurahua Ecuador June 17 - seismogram


Fuego Guatemala volcano - June 16-17 seismogram


Long Valley Caldera, California USA - seismogram

June 16, 2012

Nevado del Ruiz (Colombia) continues to tremble with strong volcanic tremor and emit volumes of SO2 (both indicative of the potential for stronger eruptive activity in the near future!).

Galeras (Colombia) also continues to exhibit unrest with pulses of tremor and small earthquakes.

Popocatepetl (Mexico) is obscured in clouds today, but the volcano likely is emitting some ash, in concert with pulses of spasmodic tremor detected by the seismic network.

Periods of strong tremor and occasional earthquake swarms in the past week imply elevated eruptive activity at Concepcion volcano (Nicaragua), but we haven’t seen any news reports about such activity.

Deep low frequency earthquakes (associated with magma movement) have been recorded beneath the Craters of the Moon (USQA, Idaho) in recent years, so they’re definitely still active!

SO2 emission map of the Nevado del Ruiz on June 16, 2012

June 15, 2012

Strong tremor continues (with occasional earthquakes) at Nevado del Ruiz (Colombia).

Intermittent tremor and small earthquakes also continue in Colombia at Galeras volcano.

In Mexico, Popocatepetl volcano is chugging, with periods of spasmodic tremor and small ash eruptions, as it has done for the past few weeks.

In the Western U.S., a short-lived swarm of earthquakes occurred in the Tehama Caldera (immediately south of Lassen Peak volcano, (CA) during the past day.  The Lassen region has been (unusually) seismically quiet over the past year or so.

An on-going (since 10 June) cluster of small earthquakes is also occurring beneath the South Moat of Long Valley Caldera (CA), likely related to inflation of the nearby resurgent dome in-progress there since last year.

A cluster of five small earthquakes also occurred over the Mallard Lake (northeast) resurgent dome in Yellowstone Caldera (WY) during the past week as well.

Earthquake swarm locations south of Lassen Volcano (Tehama Caldera)


Tehama Caldera south of Lassen Volcano - earthquake depths

And alod the following news extrected from the Smithsonian Weekly overview

Guatemala 14.473°N, 90.880°W; summit elev. 3763 m
INSIVUMEH reported that on 6 June lahars descended Fuego’s El Jute (SE), Las Lajas (SE), Ceniza (SSW), Santa Teresa (S), and Taniluyá (SW) drainages, and destroyed roads in Yepocapa (8 km WNW). During 6-7 June explosions produced ash plumes that rose 200-500 m above the crater and drifted N, and 12 km S and SW. Lava flows on the SE flank were about 800-900 m long in the Las Lajas drainage, 600 m long in the El Jute drainage, and 250 m long on the SW flank, and produced blocks that rolled and reached vegetated areas. The explosions were accompanied by rumbling sounds and shock waves that were detected in areas 10 km away, including Panimaché and Morelia (~8 km SW).

During 10-11 June an ash plume rose 1.5 km above the crater and drifted 15 km W and NW. Ashfall was reported in Panimaché I and II, Sangre de Cristo (8 km WSW), Yepocápa, and other villages nearby. Lava flows traveled 1.6 km down Taniluyá drainage, 1 km down the Ceniza drainage, and 1.5 km down Las Lajas. Pyroclastic flows descended Las Lajas. During 11-12 June explosions generated ash plumes that rose 300 m above the crater and drifted W. Lava flows traveled 300 m down the Taniluyá drainage. Incandescence rose 100 m.

Costa Rica 10.20°N, 84.233°W; summit elev. 2708 m
OVSICORI-UNA reported that phreatic eruptions at Poás occurred on 6, 15, 20 and 26 May. The eruption on 15 May was preceded by about 6 hours of very-low amplitude harmonic tremor. Administrators of the Poás Volcano National Park witnessed the eruption and reported that sediment, water, rock fragments, and plumes were ejected 500 m above the lake surface. The level of the lake dropped ~0.9 m between 8 and 29 May.

Hawaii (USA) 19.421°N, 155.287°W; summit elev. 1222 m
During 6-12 June HVO reported that the circulating lava lake periodically rose and fell in the deep pit within Kilauea’s Halema’uma’u Crater, rising as high as the inner ledge about 60 m below the crater floor. Periodic measurements indicated that the gas plume from the vent continued to deposit variable amounts of ash and Pele’s hair onto nearby areas. The lava pond in a small pit on the E edge of Pu’u ‘O’o crater floor was visible with the web cameras. Lava flows periodically issued from vents on the S and south-central parts of Pu’u ‘O’o's crater floor. Lava flows were active on the coastal plain and traveled as far as 1.6 km from the ocean. Lava flows were also sometimes active on the pali.

Ecuador 2.002°S, 78.341°W; summit elev. 5230 m
According to the Washington VAAC, a pilot observed an ash plume from Sangay on 6 June that rose to an altitude of 6.1 km (20,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted N. Meteorological clouds prevented satellite image views. A pilot observed ash drifting E on 10 June.

Guatemala 14.756°N, 91.552°W; summit elev. 3772 m
Based on seismic data and visual observations, INSIVUMEH reported that on 6 June a lahar traveled down Santa María’s Rio Nima I drainage. During 6-7 and 10-12 June explosions from Santiaguito lava-dome complex produced ash plumes that rose 400-800 m above the crater and drifted SW. Lava flows produced block avalanches.

June 14, 2012

Activity remains low at most of the volcanoes we regularly watch.

Tremor has strengthened (with some earthquakes as well) again at Nevado del Ruiz (Colombia).  SO2 output at the volcano remains high also.

Small earthquakes have clustered at or near Mount Martin (AK), Mount Saint Helens (WA), and Mount Shasta (CA) in the past week (actually most of this year at Mount Saint Helens).

June 13, 2012

After remaining strong over the past few days, tremor at Nevado Del Ruiz (Colombia) has ebbed somewhat.  A pronounced plume of SO2 was detected (via satellite) eminating from the volcano yesterday.

Also in Colombia, Galeras volcano continues to produce small earthquakes and few-minute-long bursts of tremor.

Surface activity remains reduced at Popocatepetl (Mexico) again today, although tremor and small ash emissions continue occur several times a day.

KVERT (Kamchatka) reports an ash eruption (to 8,000 ft asl) from Shiveluch today and moderate seismicity at Gorely and Karymsky volcanoes (this type activity has been on-going at these three volcanoes for some time).

All-in-all, a pretty quiet day volcano-wise when compared with last week.

June 12, 2012

Both Fuego (Guatemala) and Nevado del Ruiz (Colombia) seem to be “cycling” between periods of stronger tremor and periods of lower seismicity.  Tremor at Ruiz remains strong this morning, while it is relatively quiet at Fuego following a protracted period of tremor there through yesterday.

Tremor also seems to be picking-up (in amplitude at least) at Galeras (Colombia) as well.

Relatively strong spasmodic tremor continues to occur in pulses at Popocatepetl (Mexico) with continued reduced surface activity there.

June 11, 2012

Guatemala / Fuego and Colombia / Nevado del Ruiz
Tremor amplitude has continued to climb at Ruiz (Colombia), and at Fuego (Guatemala), rising tremor there culminated with more energetic eruptive activity early today.

Mexico / Popocatepetl
Popocatepetl (Mexico) may be joining-in with an increase in seismicity and emissions over the past day.

June 10, 2012

Guatemala / Fuego and Colombia / Nevado del Ruiz
- Volcanic tremor is slowly on the rise again at both Fuego (Guatemala) and Ruiz (Colombia).

Mexico / Popocatepetl
- Eruptive activity remains subdued (compared with the past few weeks!) at Popocatepetl (Mexico).

California / Mammoth mountain
- Mammoth Mountain (CA) has returned to quiet following Friday’s brief burst of seismic activity.

We have received no new information about the burst of seismicity near the Chilean volcano, other than that Chilean seismologists felt that the episode was purely tectonic in nature.

June 9, 2012

USA / California / Mammoth mountain / Long Valley
Some exciting news dealing with Long Valley Caldera – Mammoth Mountain.  Yesterday, at around noon, there was a notable burst of volcanic seismicity beneath Mammoth Mountain volcano, located on the southwest margin of Long Valley Caldera, CA..  Events (over 30) define a crossing pattern centered on the edifice, apparently aligning along a NW-SE trending ring fault as well as along a NE-SW trend extending into the caldera.  Some activity continues.  Again, this is nothing to be alarmed about as it occurs from time to time at Mammoth.  But, if it were to become more frequent, then…
I have included a time/depth diagram from USGS showing the “channeling” pattern of the seismicity in the shallow crust beneath the volcano.  Also, local strainmeters detected the event as shown by inflections in background trends occurring at the time of the burst of tremor.

Colombia / Galeras
Bursts of tremor with small earthquakes re-appeared at Galeras volcano yesterday, continuing their on-again, off-again pattern of the past month

Image courtesy Ingeominas, Colombia

Colombia / Nevado del Ruiz
Volcanic tremor abruptly diminished at Nevado del Ruiz (but not altogether disappeared!) earlier today

Alaska / Iliamna
A few shallow, locatable (M1-M2) earthquakes and one deep low frequency earthquake (d=24 km) have occurred at Iliamna volcano, AK over the past few days, punctuating very low-level unrest there.

Italy / Stromboli
Stromboli volcano is in a phase of strong activity. Reports by visitors and images taken with the webcams show that in particular the northwestern vent in the summit crater often produces strong explosions that shower the crater terrace with incandescent lava. Since the last lateral eruption in March 2007, Stromboli has been in a heightened state of activity overall during most of the past years, indicating that magma levels inside the conduit are relatively high. The question is when again the magma finds its way out through a fissure on the flank on Sciara del Fuoco to produce another effusive eruption with a new lava flow (Source VolcanoDiscovery)

Hawaii / Kilauea
Over the past week, lava flows on Kīlauea’s coastal plain have been persistently advancing towards the ocean, though at a slower pace during a mid-week pressure decrease, increasing over the past day with renewed pressure. The flow front is estimated to be about 2km/1mi from the ocean still, so we await the effects of this renewed pressure at the coast! A series of webcam captures from the USGS-HVO shows the progression of these flows over the past week.
Meanwhile, pressure is still high across other parts of the volcano, with small lava flows and a lava pond increasingly present within Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō crater (not directly accessible, but glow can be seen from a distance with clear weather), and the summit lava lake within Halema‘uma‘u still at high levels and producing strong glow visible from the Jaggar Overlook after dark. Within this newest crater but still out of sight, there have been spillovers of the lava lake as it continues to overtop its previous high-level banks!  (Source VolcanoDiscovery)

Iceland / Katla
The earthquake swarm under the southern part of the icecap of Katla volcano that had started on 5 June continues with 30 more quakes recorded during the past 48 hours.
The quakes are mostly very small, but a few were between magnitude 2 and 3, and most are located at shallow depths of less than 5 km.  (Source VolcanoDiscovery)

June 8, 2012

- Today, several websites are reporting on an earthquake sequence occurring in proximity to the Tatara-San Pedro volcanic complex in Chile.  While the edifice is comprised of youthful volcanic features in the form of lava flows, domes and craters, the volcano has no historically reported activity.  The seismicity currently exhibits traits of both tectonic and volcanic seismicity (always a nightmare for volcanologists!).  Tectonic traits include:  A large magnitude (M5.7) initial(?) event and at least crude alignment of epicenters suggesting structural (fault) control.   On the volcanic-side: There continue to be numerous (>600 total events) relatively large magnitude (M3.0 > M4.0+) additional events in proximity to a clearly active volcano.  While the epicenters seem to align along a linear structure, their trend (WNW-ESE) is parallel to the maximum horizontal compressive stress in the region which allows for possible dike inflation to occur perpendicular (NNE-SSW) to that trend.  As is usual with these events, time will tell how it plays-out.along the within a youthful volcanic region.

- Several international seismic monitors have reported earthquake activity (M4.8) in the DR Congo occurring on the 6th.  This correlates with a large plume of SO2 eminating from that volcanic area during the same period (see below).  Still, there has been no ground confirmation of this volcanic event yet (likely from either Nyragongo or Nyamlagira volcanoes).

June 7, 2012

- As usually happens as one mentions “reduced activity” at a volcano (see item yesterday), Fuego (Guatemala) experienced a sizeable eruption yesterday (seismogram below).
- Satellite images show a large SO2 cloud over the DR Congo (Nyamlagira or Nyragongo volcanoes?), but no eruption confirmation yet.
- According to John Seach, Manam volcano (Papua New Guinea) is becoming more active with loud explosive eruptions (typical for that volcano).

- A new swarm of earthquakes has started Tuesday (5 June) evening at Katla volcano. Until now, 34 quakes up to magnitude 2 have been recorded beneath the volcano, at mostly shallow depths around 3-7 km. The quakes are clustered in the SE part of the caldera, and could indicate that a magmatic intrusion is taking place in this area. Whether this is a precursor to a possible eruption of the volcano remains speculation. (thanks to volcano Discovery and ER reader Tom)

Seismogram courtesy Insivumeh

June 6, 2012

Volcanic activity from the American West to Colombia 
- Volcano-tectonic earthquake swarm continues at Popocatepetl (Mexico) with somewhat reduced gas and ash emissions during the past week at the volcano.
- Eruptions have become smaller and less frequent as well at Fuego (Guatemala) during the past few days.
- Tremor with small earthquakes have re-appeared (after a few days hiatus) at Galeras (Colombia).
- Strong, but reduced amplitude (compared with last week) hydrothermal tremor continues at Ruiz (with some minor ash emission).
- The most exciting volcano-news from the western USA is that an inflation episode (which began about this time last year) continues at the resurgent dome in Long Valley Caldera, CA.  Inflation is also continuing near the Three Sisters volcano in Oregon (but at a very minor rate compared with Long Valley).

May 31, 2012

Colombia / Nevado del Ruiz

Colombia’s notorious Nevado del Ruiz volcano has started a new eruptive phase. The volcano produced a series of small explosive eruptions on 29 May, following an earthquake swarm that started at 3 am that day. The explosions were probably phreatic (caused by exploding overheated groundwater as fresh magma is probably rising inside the volcano) and caused ash fall on on the city of Manizales at about 30 km distance from the volcano, as well as in many other towns and villages around the volcano, including the departments of Risaralda and El Àguila.
At the moment, strong degassing and probably ongoing explosive activity is creating a plume of gas, steam and ash rising 500-1000 m above the crater, and a strong odor of sulfur is noted in towns and villages around the volcano. (text : volcano discovery)

May 25, 2012

Japan / Sakura-Jima
Sakurajima volcano on Kyushu, Japan, remains in a state of elevated activity. During the past week, strong vulcanian explosions from the Showa Crater often occurred multiple times per day, and generated tall ash plumes reaching 4 km altitude. A small pyroclastic flow reaching 300 m length occurred during an explosion on 21 May. Tokyo VAAC often reported plumes up to 1.8-3.7 km height during 16-20 and 22 May, and pilots observed ash plumes during 16-17 May that rose to altitudes of 2.7-4 km (9,000-13,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted E and SE.
Very small eruptions were also reported from the second crater Minami-dake on 18 and 19 May. (text : volcano discovery)

Greece / Santorini
A new study was published about the recent uplift detected on the volcanic island of Nea Kameni in the center of the Santorini caldera. The data were obtained using ESA’s Envisat satellite and the measurements show that the northeastern part of Nea Kameni experienced an uplift of about 5 cm in 2011, while other areas of the volcano rose some 3–4 cm. This inflation was associated with the elevated seismic activity during the past months and can be interpreted caused by the injection of fresh magma under the the volcano. The latest data also show that during the first months of 2012, the rate of uplift has decreased. This correlates well with a decrease in seismicity.
A possible interpretation could be that the intrusion of magma is coming to an end, and an eruption in the near to medium future is less and less likely.

May 24, 2012

Active volcanoes in the world ( May16 to May 22 )
8 volcanoes have shown changes in activity last week. New unusual activity has been noticed around 5 volcanoes

Guatemala 14.473°N, 90.880°W; summit elev. 3763 m
On 19 May seismicity at Fuego increased and explosions were heard at 5-10 minute intervals. A 600-m-long lava flow descended the W flank, and a 1-km-long and 20-m-wide lava flow descended the E flank, reaching the base of the volcano. Explosions ejected incandescent tephra 400 m above the crater, and produced ash plumes that rose 5 km above the crater and drifted 30 km S and SW. Coordinadora Nacional para la Reducción de Desastres (CONRED) raised the Alert Level to Orange (the second highest level on a 4-color scale). Pyroclastic flows also descended the flanks, prompting authorities to restrict passage on part of a highway. Ash plumes from the pyroclastic flows rose 3 km above the crater. Ashfall was reported in Morelia (7 km SW), Panimaché I and II (9 km SW), Sangre de Cristo (8 km WSW), and Yepocapa (8 km WNW). Thirteen people from El Porvenir in Alotenango (8 km ENE) evacuated to local shelters. Visual observations and seismicity indicated that activity decreased later that day.
On 20 May a few explosions generated ash plumes that rose 500 m above the crater and drifted 8 km SW. The next day cloud cover prevented observations; however explosions, rumbling, and degassing sounds were reported. On 22 May explosions generated ash plumes that rose as high as 1 km and drifted 10 km S and SE. Rumbling was heard and shock waves were detected. The lava flows were inactive and only incandescence from block avalanches was observed.

Sumatra (Indonesia) 0.381°S, 100.473°E; summit elev. 2891 m
According to a news article, an approximately 10-minute-long eruption from Marapi produced an ash plume that rose 600 m on 18 May. The article noted that the Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4).

Ongoing activity was noted among the following volcanoes :
Batu Tara, Komba Island (Indonesia) – Cleveland, Chuginadak Island (Alaska) – Dukono, Halmahera (Indonesia) – Karymsky, Eastern Kamchatka (Russia) – Kilauea, Hawaii (USA) – Popocatépetl (México) – Sakura-jima, Kyushu (Japan) – Santa María (Guatemala) -  Shiveluch, Central Kamchatka (Russia) -  Tungurahua (Ecuador)

May 22, 2012

Guatemala / Fuego eruption
Fuego volcano in Guatemala had a major eruption on Saturday (19 May). The eruption was one of its largest in recent years since the start of near continuous activity in 2002. The eruption was both explosive and effusive. According to news, the eruption began at 2:45 a.m. with large explosions and lava fountains possibly up to 1 km high from the summit crater. Large incandescent bombs were ejected to considerable distances and showered the summit cone of the volcano. A 500 m long lava flow traveled down on the SW flank towards the Ceniza ravine. The eruption also produced an ash column reaching 5 km (16,000 ft altitude) and pyroclastic flows probably generated mostly by cascading lava blocks traveling down the steep cone’s flank into Las Lajas, El Jute y Ceniza valleys. Ash fall was reported from nearby villages mainly to the S and SW including Morelia, Panimaché I and II, Sangre Cristo and Yepocapa. (text : volcano discovery)

May 18, 2012

Japan / Kyuchu / Sakura-jima
The video below shows the timelapse of 4 webcams directed towards different sides of the volcano. Sakurajima volcano is one of the most explosive volcanoes in the world and erupts very regularly. The explosions are sometimes very powerful like in the video below.

Active volcanoes in the world ( May9 to May 15 )
8 volcanoes have shown changes in activity last week. New unusual activity has been noticed around 5 volcanoes

Eastern Java (Indonesia) 8.058°S, 114.242°E; summit elev. 2799 m
CVGHM reported that during 1-30 April white plumes from Ijen rose 100-200 m above the crater; during 1-11 May diffuse white plumes rose 50-100 m. From the beginning of April until 13 May the amplitude and number of earthquakes gradually decreased and the crater lake water temperature decreased by eight degrees Celsius. The Alert Level was lowered to 2 (on a scale of 1-4) on 13 May.

Siau I 2.78°N, 125.40°E; summit elev. 1784 m
Based on analyses of satellite imagery, the Darwin VAAC reported that on 14 May an ash plume from Karangetang rose to an altitude of 3.7 km (12,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted 130 km SE. On 16 May an ash plume again rose to an altitude of 3.7 km (12,000 ft) a.s.l. then drifted about 110 km SE.

Grand Comore Island 11.75°S, 43.38°E; summit elev. 2361 m
Observers in the villages of Mde and Mkazi, on the W flank of Karthala, reported increased incandescence from the summit during the night of 9-10 May.

México 19.023°N, 98.622°W; summit elev. 5426 m
CENAPRED reported that during 8-10 May multiple gas-and-ash plumes rose 1.5 km above Popocatépetl’s crater and drifted NE. Incandescent fragments ejected from the crater landed on the N and E flanks as far as 500 m away. According to a news article an airport in Puebla was closed due to ash plumes on 8 and 10 May. Seismicity increased on 11 May. Ash plumes rose 3 km above the crater and drifted NE and incandescent fragments ejected from the crater rolled 1 km down the flanks. Gas-and-ash plumes rose 2.5 km and drifted ENE. On 12 May gas-and-ash plumes rose 4 km above the crater. Incandescent tephra was ejected 2 km above the crater and again rolled 1 km down the flanks. Ashfall was reported in most municipalities within the state of Tlaxcala (50 km NE of the volcano), in addition to smaller towns nearer to the volcano such as Santiago Xalitzintla (15 km NE) and San Nicolás de los Ranchos (16 km ENE). An airport in Puebla was again closed due to ash. During 13-15 May gas-and-ash plumes rose from the crater and drifted NE, and incandescent tephra was ejected from the crater. The Alert Level remained at Yellow Phase Three.

Pantar Island (Indonesia) 8.508°S, 124.13°E; summit elev. 862 m
CVGHM reported that on 8 May a three-hour long ash eruption from Sirung was accompanied by loud sounds and incandescence that reached 10 m above the crater. An ash plume rose 3.5 km above the crater and drifted N, producing ashfall up to 4 mm thick near the crater. During 9-12 May white plumes rose 30-50 m above the crater. A sulfur odor was reported in areas up to 3 km away on 12 May. That same day CVGHM raised the Alert Level to 3 (on a scale of 1-4) and recommended that visitors not approach the volcano within a 2.5 km radius.
Based on a report from a ground-based observer and analyses of satellite imagery, the Darwin VAAC noted that on 12 May an ash plume rose to an altitude of 3 km (10,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted about 95 km SW.

Ongoing activity was noted among the following volcanoes :
Cleveland, Chuginadak Island (Alaska) – Karymsky, Eastern Kamchatka (Russia) – Kilauea, Hawaii (USA) – Pagan (Mariana Islands) – Sakura-jima, Kyushu (Japan) – Santa María (Guatemala) – Shiveluch, Central Kamchatka (Russia) – Soufrière Hills (Montserrat) – Tungurahua (Ecuador)

May 17, 2012

Iceland / Askja Caldera
A small seismic swarm occurred on 14-15 May near the Askja caldera in central Iceland, just southwest of Herðubreið volcano. Herðubreið volcano, located in the Highlands of Iceland in the midst of the Ódáðahraun desert, is an isolated, table-mountain shaped broad cone that formed beneath the ice-sheet that covered Iceland during the last ice age, which is when the volcano had its last eruption.
Whether the recent seismic swarm is related to the same magmatic system that formed Herðubreið or rather to the larger Askja caldera volcano is difficult to asses.  (text : volcano discovery)

Iceland / Katla volcano
Katla volcano continues to show signs of increased unrest. A small glacial flood occurred from under the volcano’s icecap Katla around 28 April 2012 and possibly again around 7-8 May, both times accompanied by increased levels of harmonic tremor. This suggests that magma movements inside the volcano might be heating up the ground, causing increased melting. A small seismic swarm at depths of 1-2 km occurred yesterday 15 May. (text : volcano discovery)

May 15, 2012

USA / Yellowstone Volcano Observatory
The Yellowstone Volcano Observatory has a newly redesigned website ( The new version includes much of the same information as the previous website with enhancements to multimedia, monitoring data, and hazards information.  An updated layout takes advantage of current web technologies and includes an interactive map to view real-time monitoring data via the “Monitoring” section.

May 14, 2012

Tonga / submarine volcano research
The violent rise and collapse of an underwater volcano in the Pacific Ocean is captured in startling clarity for the first time. Researchers studying the Monowai volcano, near Tonga, recorded huge changes in height in just two weeks. The images, gathered by sonar from a research ship, shed new light on the turbulent fate of submarine mountains. Published in the journal Nature Geoscience, the findings were made during a seabed survey last year. $$$$$

May 12, 2012

Mexico / Popocatepetl (08:55 UTC)
The volcano is fairly active again and ash is being spewed into the air. The activity can well be seen on the webcam.

Activity can well be seen on the live webcam from Cenapred, Mexico (this picture is from 09:00 UTC - Click on this picture to watch the webcam live

Indonesia / Java / Salak
Just a few lines to report that the plane crash who occurred on the slopes of the dormant volcano, Gunung Salak, has nothing to do with the volcano itself. The new Russian Sukhoi-100 superjet plane, with 45 journalists and potential buyers on board, crashed on the volcano slopes just after asking traffic control authorization to fly at a lower altitude.

May 10, 2012

Greece / Santorini
Earthquake swarm on the Kolumbus line. Another seismic swarm has been occurring at Santorini volcano in the past days, located on the SW-NE line running through the caldera and the Kolumbos submarine volcano (referred to as the Kolumbos line), and to the SW of the island along the same lineament. The largest quake was a 2.2 magnitude at 11.3 km depth at Kolumbos volcano on 8 May. (text : volcano discovery)

Active volcanoes in the world ( May2 to May 8 )
8 volcanoes have shown changes in activity last week. New unusual activity has been noticed around 5 volcanoes

Komba Island (Indonesia) 7.792°S, 123.579°E; summit elev. 748 m
Based on analyses of satellite imagery, the Darwin VAAC reported that during 2-4 May ash plumes from Batu Tara rose to an altitude of 2.4 km (8,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted 37 km NW.

Chuginadak Island (Alaska) 52.825°N, 169.944°W; summit elev. 1730 m
Based on analyses of satellite images, AVO reported on 4 May that the small lava dome recently emplaced in Cleveland’s summit crater had been destroyed late in the previous week, but the explosion was too small to be detected by distant infrasound and seismic networks. A small new dome was extruded following the explosion and was the fifth dome to be observed in this eruptive episode which began in July 2011. During 4-5 May two small explosions were detected. No ash was observed with the mostly-cloudy conditions. Satellite observations were obscured by clouds during 6-8 May.

New Britain (Papua New Guinea) 5.58°S, 150.52°E; summit elev. 742 m
Based on analyses of satellite imagery, the Darwin VAAC reported that ash-and-steam plumes from Pago rose to an altitude of 13.7 km (45,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted 75 km NE.

México 19.023°N, 98.622°W; summit elev. 5426 m
CENAPRED reported that during 2-3 May activity at Popocatépetl increased significantly. Spasmodic tremor was detected along with a dense and continuous plume of gas and ash that drifted W, NW, and NNE. Ash fell in multiple areas, including Amecameca (20 km NW), Atlautla, Ozumba (18 km W), Ecatzingo (15 km SW), Chalco (35 km NW), and some parts of SE México City (70 km NW). On 3 May gas-and-ash plumes rose 1.5 km above the crater and drifted W and NE. Incandescent fragments ejected from the crater landed on the flanks as far as 800 m away. Explosion-generated gas-and-ash plumes the next day rose 2.5 km above the crater and drifted NW. Spasmodic tremor was detected along with a dense and continuous plume of gas and ash that drifted WNW. Later that day gas-and-ash plumes rose 1 km. During 5-6 May gas-and-ash plumes rose 1.5 km above the crater and drifted N, NE, and E. Light ashfall was reported in Atlixco (25 km SE), San Juan Tianguismanalco (22 km SE), Tochimilco (16 km SSE), San Pedro Benito Juárez (10 km SE), and San Nicolás de los Ranchos (16 km ENE). During 5-7 May incandescent fragments ejected from the crater landed on the flanks as far as 500 m away. A gas-and-ash plume drifted ESE on 7 May. The next day activity remained high; seismic events were accompanied by dense and continuous plumes of steam, gas, and ash that drifted mainly ESE. The Alert Level remained at Yellow Phase Three.

Eastern Java (Indonesia) 8.108°S, 112.92°E; summit elev. 3676 m
CVGHM reported that during 1-29 February multiple pyroclastic flows from Semeru traveled 500 and 2,500 m into the Besuk Kembar and Besuk Kobokan rivers (on the S flank), respectively. During 1 February-30 April dense gray-to-white plumes rose 100-500 m above Jongring Seloko crater and drifted W and N. Incandescence was visible up to 50 m above the crater during 1 February-31 March. Seismicity decreased from March to April. Observations indicated that the lava dome grew in April. On 2 May CVGHM lowered the Alert Level to 2 (on a scale of 1-4) and reminded the public not to approach the crater within a 4-km radius..

Ongoing activity was noted among the following volcanoes :
Dukono, Halmahera (Indonesia) - Karymsky, Eastern Kamchatka (Russia) – Kilauea, Hawaii (USA) – Nevado del Ruiz (Colombia) – Sakura-jima, Kyushu (Japan) – Shiveluch, Central Kamchatka (Russia) – Soufrière Hills (Montserrat) – Tungurahua (Ecuador)
The video below gives a glimp if the crater and some fumarole activity at Soufrière Hills (Montserrat). Whenever you are in the area and the volcano is less active than today, you may want to join the reggae-like guides.

May 9, 2012

USA / Hawaii / Kilauea
Kīlauea’s lava flows have surged in activity on the coastal plain accompanying inflation at the summit, though following by about 24 hours. This activity is farther from the ocean than before, relatively close to the base of the pali but moving quickly across cooling flows from the previous two months. Check out our new time-lapse movie showing the height of activity! (text : volcano discovery)

Thermal webcam USGS at Halema'uma'u overlook - image courtesy USGS

May 6, 2012

USA / Hawaii / Hawaii / Kilauea volcano
Since entering the National Park, lava flows have continued to slowly advance towards the ocean but have not made much ground. Pressure variations propagating through Kīlauea volcano have kept the flows from building momentum, but they have persisted sluggishly and lava flows are still visible by means of a 6-7mi / 9-11km round-trip hike from the Kalapana side. When the lava is flowing more slowly (like right now), it actually gives us a chance to approach and interact with it more easily, whereas more vigorous flows require additional safety considerations. For non-hikers, strong glow continues from the summit, visible from Jaggar Overlook & Museum! (text : volcano discovery)

May 4, 2012

Nicaragua / Masaya
Nicaragua’s Masaya volcano, located about 20 km south of Managua city, has entered a new eruptive phase. The latest report of the Instituto Nicaragüense de Estudios Territoriales (INETER) mentions 24 small ash and steam explosions that were recorded between 30 April and 1 May. 9 of these explosions produced ash clouds that rose about 500 m above the Santiago crater rim.
The activity followed an increase of elevated SO2 emissions and seismic activity detected in late April. According to reports, the degassing from a crack in the main crater was accompanied by jet-like sounds, and internal rumblings can be heard at the volcano.
Latina Press mentions that scientists are closely monitoring the new activity, but so far, no emergency has been declared and the Masaya Volcano National Park remains open. (text : volcano discovery)

South Sandwich Islands / Zavodovski
A new eruption on the remote Zavodovski Island in the South Sandwich island chain was detected by NASA’s Aqua satellite on 27 April 2012.
The satellite picture shows a plume originating from the island’s active crater known as Mt Curry, or sometimes also referred to as Mt Asphyxia. It is possible that the plume is created by lava flows in contact with sea water, as it appears to be mainly steam.
Not much else is known about the eruption, because the island is uninhabited and extremely remote and has no monitoring on the island. Most of the information about this eruption will rely on remote sensing (satellite observations). (text : volcano discovery)

Active volcanoes in the world
10 volcanoes have shown changes in activity last week. New unusual activity has been noticed around 5 volcanoes.

Komba Island (Indonesia) 7.792°S, 123.579°E; summit elev. 748 m
Based on analyses of satellite imagery, the Darwin VAAC reported that during 25-26 April ash plumes from Batu Tara rose to an altitude of 2.4 km (8,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted 37 km W and SW. During 30 April-1 May ash plumes again rose to an altitude of 2.4 km (8,000 ft) a.s.l. then drifted 37-55 km NW.

Chuginadak Island 52.825°N, 169.944°W; summit elev. 1730 m
AVO reported that elevated surface temperatures were detected over Cleveland in satellite imagery during 25-29 April and possibly on 30 April. Observations showed that a small lava dome, 25 m across, had recently been emplaced.

Volcano Islands (Japan) 24.754°N, 141.290°E; summit elev. 161 m
According to a JMA report on 2 May, an eruption at Ioto (Iwo-jima) caused water discoloration to the NE. A new fumarole was also confirmed.

Sulawesi 1.358°N, 124.792°E; summit elev. 1580 m
According to the Darwin VAAC, ash plumes from Lokon-Empung, that rose to an altitude of 3.7 km (12,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted 75 km N, were detected in satellite imagery and reported by ground-based observers.

México 19.023°N, 98.622°W; summit elev. 5426 m
CENAPRED reported that gas-and-steam plumes, occasionally containing ash, rose from Popocatépetl during 25-29 April. Gas-and-ash plumes rose 1.5 km above the crater on 25 and 27 April. On 28 April incandescent fragments ejected from the crater landed on E flank as far as 1 km. The next day steam-and-gas plume rose from the crater. On 1 May gas-and-steam plumes, that occasionally contained low amounts of ash, and rose 1 km above the crater. The Alert Level remained at Yellow Phase Three.

Ongoing activity was noted among the following volcanoes :
Bulusan, Luzon (Philippines), Etna, Sicily (Italy), Karymsky, Eastern Kamchatka (Russia), Kilauea, Hawaii (USA), Nevado del Ruiz (Colombia), Sakura-jima, Kyushu (Japan), Santa María (Guatemala), Shiveluch, Central Kamchatka (Russia), Soufrière Hills (Montserrat), Tungurahua (Ecuador)

May 3, 2012

Mexico / Popocatépetl
Popocatépetl volcano continues to produce ash and steam eruptions several times a day, that generate plumes rising up to 1-2 km above the crater. A more powerful emission is in progress at the time of writing (see image). (text : volcano discovery)

May 2, 2012

Indonesia / Merapi
After the destructive eruption who killed hundreds of people in November 2010, the press is seeing Merapi as a great story again because of some renewed activity. The Indonesian Volcanic Institute stresses however that there is NO similarity with the conditions which were noticed before the Merapi erupted violently. At the time the deformation of the volcano was in some parts mounted to 3 meter versus 10 cm now. The same with volcanic earthquakes, at the time the number mounted to 100/day versus 10 now. GPS data and Satellite follow have not given indications of serious renewed activity.  The specialized authorities are vigilant at all times but have not raised the level of Merapi. A higher level would start a number of preparations to be ready to evacuate people if necessary. The current level of Merapi is Normal (lowest on 4 levels). No NO GO radius has been called yet.   (source local press at 16:30 UTC)


  1. Hi,
    Mount Ruapehu in the Central Volcanic Plateau of New Zealand’s North Island has been on close watch and an eruption has been expected, possibly before the weekend. What happened today however was an eruption of neighbouring Mount Tongariro’s Te Maari Crater (the same which erupted end of August). With a bit of luck we might experience a rare twin eruption this weekend!
    Joerg from New Zealand

  2. ETNA: lavastroom SE krater, mooi te zien op webcams

  3. Hello Armand,
    Vandaag gezien op ICELAND REVIEW ONLINE een artikel met een video van 4 min. welke een overzicht geeft van de aardbevingen en vulkaanuitbarstingen gedurende de laatste 15 jaar.

  4. Ettna op het punt van uitbarsten. Tremor verhoogt steeds maar en warmtefoto(s geven duidelijk aan dat een uitbarsting begint.

  5. Hello Armand,
    Gewoon ter info:
    Het meer Oskjuvatn van de Askja-krater (Ijsland) is nu ijsvrij, terwijl dit normaal in deze periode van het jaar helemaal nog niet ijsvrij is. Fumarolen werden niet opgemerkt, maar wel iets meer aardbevingen dan eneke jaren geleden.
    Gezien de Askjavulkaan in de 19de eeuw catastrofaal uitbarstte (laatste uitbarsting 1961) toch wel een vulkaan om binnen afzienbare tijd in het oog te houden.

    • Armand Vervaeck says:

      Hartelijk dank Roland – ben zelf al in Ijsland en Groenland geweest en dit is inderdaaad een vreemd fenomeen. Zeker interessant om op te volgen.

    • Ik was op Heimaey in 1976. Jammer genoeg 3 jaar te laat, maar toch nog interessant gnoeg.

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