Volcano news Updates – Gamalama eruption (10 people missing), Fogo, Sinabung, Bardarbunga

Last update: December 18, 2014 at 8:43 pm by By

On this page : Fogo (Cabo Verde), Bardarbunga (Iceland), Kilauea (Hawaii), Stromboli (Sicily),  Aso (Japan), Popocatepetl (Mexico),  Reventador (Ecuador), Chiles and Cerro Negro (Colombia), Erebus (Antarctica), Pavlof (Alaska), Sinabung (Indonesia), Mayon (Philippines), Tokashidake (Japan)

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Kilauea, Hawaii December 18, 20:06 UTC (Janine)
HVO reports that the active flow front is now 1.3 km (0.8 miles) from the Pahoa Village Road and Highway 130 intersection, after advancing approximately 150 m (165 yards) since yesterday. The flow consists of two closely-spaced, narrow lava flow fingers that are heading in the same direction, and may be slowing. HVO staff have put in place 2 time lapse web cams near the Pahoa Marketplace, one focusing on the market, and the other up slope. The current webcam images are below.

HVO webcam view of the Marketplace taken Dec 18, 09:54 local time.

HVO webcam view of the Marketplace taken Dec 18, 09:54 local time.

HVO webcam view of up slope of the Marketplace taken Dec 18, 09:54 local time.

HVO webcam view of up slope of the Marketplace taken Dec 18, 09:54 local time.

Gamalama, Ternate, Indonesia erupts – December 18, 18:09 UTC
Volcan Gamalama had 2 ash explosions a little earlier. 10 people did notice the authorities that they would climb the volcano. Since then no news. Depending on their climbing route and level at the time of the explosions, their situation maybe very harmful.  We can compare this ash explosion best with the many people killed on the Ontake volcano in Japan. Lets hope that everyone will reach a safe location asap. We will keep you updated about their faith.
Gamalama is currently in Waspada or level II on a IV scale alert since October 9 2014

Image courtesy and copyright Okezone Indonesia

Image courtesy and copyright Okezone Indonesia

Screen Shot 2014-12-18 at 20.02.16 Screen Shot 2014-12-18 at 20.06.17

Volcano activity of the world (last 7 days) – December 18, 15:00 UTC (Armand)
Bulletin collected and published by the Smithsonian Institute

Screen Shot 2014-12-18 at 18.05.41Asosan  | Kyushu (Japan)
JMA reported that, based on seismicity and infrasound data, the eruption from Asosan’s Nakadake Crater that began on 25 November continued during 8-12 December; inclement weather often prevented observations of the crater. A webcam recorded tephra being carried by high winds and deposited in an area 1 km W. During a field survey on 10 December volcanologists observed 20-cm-wide blocks near the crater and 5-10-cm-wide blocks within 1.2 km SW of the crater. Plumes rose 600 m above the crater and incandescent material was sometimes ejected onto the crater rim. During 12-15 December the plume rose 1 km above the crater rim. Ashfall was reported E in Hanoi Aso (Kumamoto Region). Incandescent material was occasionally ejected onto the crater rim. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-5).

Chirinkotan  | Kuril Islands (Russia)
SVERT reported that a thermal anomaly over Chirinkotan was detecetd in satellite images during 10-11 and 13-14 December. Cloud cover obscured views on the other days during 8-15 December. The Aviation Color Code remained at Yellow.

Fogo  | Cape Verde  | 14.95°N, 24.35°W  | Elevation 2829 m
According to news articles the rate of lava output from Fogo’s Pico cone inside the Cha Caldera had decreased on 9 December and remained low through 14 December. Gas and ash emissions also decreased and were almost absent by 14 December. Even though output was low, the remaining buildings in the town of Bangaeira were overtaken by lava.

Kusatsu-Shiranesan  | Honshu (Japan)  | 36.618°N, 138.528°E  | Elevation 2165 m
During 5-12 December JMA maintained Alert Level 2 for Kusatsu-Shiranesan due to continued unrest. GPS measurements indicated inflation, although thermal anomalies had been absent since July. Volcanic earthquakes continued at a low level and tremor was absent.

Lopevi  | Vanuatu  | 16.507°S, 168.346°E  | Elevation 1413 m
On 15 December the Vanuatu Geohazards Observatory reported that, based on observations and analyses in early December, activity at Lopevi had increased dramatically over a short time period. The Alert Level was raised to 1 (on a scale of 0-4), and access to the island was prohibited.

Moyorodake [Medvezhia]  | Iturup (Etorofu) Island (Japan/Russia)  | 45.389°N, 148.838°E  | Elevation 1124 m
On 12 December SVERT reported that activity at Kudriavy, a stratovolcano of the Medvezhia volcanic complex, had not increased since 1 December. The Aviation Color Code was lowered to Green.

Nevado del Ruiz  | Colombia  | 4.895°N, 75.322°W  | Elevation 5321 m
Servicio Geológico Colombiano’s (SGC) Observatorio Vulcanológico and Sismológico de Manizales reported that on 15 December at 0738 seismic signals indicating ash emissions were detected, and then confirmed, by a local webcam and residents. Based on a pilot observation, the Washington VAAC noted that an ash plume drifted almost 20 km S that same day. The Alert Level remained at III (Yellow; “changes in the behavior of volcanic activity”).
Source: Servicio Geológico Colombiano (SGC)

Sinarka  | Shiashkotan Island (Russia)  | 48.875°N, 154.175°E  | Elevation 934 m
SVERT reported that on 8 December satellite images of Sinarka showed diffuse steam-and-gas emissions. Cloud cover obscured views on the other days during 9-15 December. The Aviation Color Code was raised to Yellow.

Villarrica  | Chile
According to Projecto Observación Visual Volcán Villarrica (POVI), satellite images of Villarrica acquired on 10 and 26 November and 3 December revealed a progressively more intense thermal anomaly. Photographs on 9 December showed particulates suspended above the crater rim, and the next day a thin veneer of ash covered the NW edge of the crater rim. Detonations from the crater were heard during 10-12 December. On 13 December observers noted that the intense blasts of gas from the previous few days had removed some ash deposits from the inner crater wall leaving lighter colored streaks.

Zhupanovsky  | Eastern Kamchatka (Russia)
KVERT reported that an eruption at Zhupanovsky continued during 5-12 December. Satellite images detected a thermal anomaly on 9 December; the volcano was either quiet or obscured by clouds on the other days. The Aviation Color Code remained at Orange.

Fogo, Cabo Verde December 18, 17:03 UTC (Armand)
New lava flow map – Click here to be linked to the “Fogo only” page

Sinabung, Sumatra, Indonesia - December 18, 11:58 UTC (Armand)
If you love pyroclastic flows and explosive volcanoes, book a ticket to Indonesia and have the time of your life (at least when you respect the safety parameters)

Bardarbunga, Iceland – December 18, 11:58 UTC (Armand)

Bardarbunga, Iceland – December 17, 14:33 UTC (Armand)
A strong M5.3 earthquake at the Bardarbunga rim was felt in large parts of Iceland. The earthquake is however nothing special and is in line with earlier near M5 quakes, this mainly because of the depth of the hypocenter at 6.9 km.

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Bardarbunga, Iceland – December 17, 12:41 UTC (Armand)
Gradual fading of seismic activity at Bárðarbunga and the dyke intrusion (since the events of 16th August 2014)
The earthquake sequence around Bárðarbunga in 2014 continues at high levels, but has shown clear signs of gradual fading during the last weeks and months. This slow decay of activity is reflected by lower magnitudes and numbers of earthquakes, seen as a general decrease of seismic moment release.
The figure shows the decrease of seismic moment release and numbers of events with respect to time between the onset of the earthquake swarm on 16 August (week 0) and today, 16 December (week 18). The cumulative moment and numbers of events are calculated for each week; i.e. for each week the earthquakes of certain magnitude ranges were counted and the moment of all earthquakes was simply summed up.
Read the full article here

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Ruapehu, New Zealand – December 17 12:37 UTC (Armand)

Asosan, Japan – December 17 12:37 UTC (Armand)

Tokashidake, Hokkaido, Japan – December 16 23:31 UTC (Armand)
JMA increased the volcanic alert from 1 to 2 on a scale of 5 (Do not approach the crater) due to increased seismicity
Summary : Tokachidake volcano consists of a group of dominantly andesitic stratovolcanoes and lava domes arranged on a NE-SW line above a plateau of welded Pleistocene tuffs in central Hokkaido. Numerous explosion craters and cinder cones are located on the upper flanks of the small stratovolcanoes, with the youngest Holocene centers located at the NW end of the chain. Frequent historical eruptions, consisting mostly of mild-to-moderate phreatic explosions, have been recorded since the mid-19th century. Two larger eruptions occurred in 1926 and 1962. Partial cone collapse of the western flank during the 1926 eruption produced a disastrous debris avalanche and mudflow. (source: Smithsonian Institute)

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Photo courtesy of Japan Meteorological Agency, 1988.

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Science – Behavior of different type of lava in contact with snow – December 16 (Armand)
Volcano observations reveal jets of steam shooting out of the ice and lava moving like a giant caterpillar – although the lava type can make a big difference

For Your Information (Armand)
We have cut a big part of this page, the part from December 5 until December 13. The link to this archived part is or here or at the bottom of the page.

Bardarbunga, Iceland – December 15, 23:34 UTC (Armand)
Report of the Scientific Advisory Board earlier today
* Insubstantial changes have been in the volcanic eruption in Holuhraun over the last few weeks. Indication show that the lava is now mainly flowing inside closed channels.
* Seismic activity in Bardarbunga continues to be strong. The strongest earthquake since noon on Friday, 12. December, was magnitude M5,4 yesterday, 15. December, at 09:37 on the northern rim of the caldera. About 20 earthquakes larger then M4,0 were detected since Friday. In total about 200 earthquakes were detected in Bardarbunga since noon on Friday. A collection of data from the beginning of the seismic activity in Bardarbunga show a steadily decline in the seismic activity and in the number of large earthquakes.
* On Saturday and Sunday, 13. and 14. December, a minor increased seismic activity was detected in the dyke and around the eruption site in Holuhraun. Between 15 and 20 earthquakes were detected each day, all smaller then magnitude M2,0. Since then about 10 earthquakes a day were detected in the dyke, all smaller then magnitude M2,0.
* GPS measurements near northern Vatnajokull glacier show continuing slow subsidence towards Bardarbunga. The rate of the subsidence has slowly decreased.
* Telecommunications with the GPS station in Bardarbunga caldera have not been established yet. Due to bad weather forecast it is unlikely that scientists will be able to travel to Bardarbunga in the next few days. A connection will be established with the GPS station as soon as possible.

2014: The Year in Volcanic Activity (Armand)
40 great pictures of eruptions in 2014. Enjoy them. Due to Copyright reasons we cannot reproduce the photo’s
Read the full article here

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Zhupanovsky, Russia December 06, 09:17 UTC (Janine)
The Tokyo VAAC has released an ash advisory after an ash plume has been reported to be traveling 70 km to the southeast. KVERT reports that moderate activity continues at the volcano.

Shiveluch, Russia December 06, 09:17 UTC (Janine)
KVERT reports the continuation of the lava dome growth with moderate explosions, avalanches, and fumerolic activity. The Tokyo VAAC has released an ash advisory after satellite data shows an ash plume moving up to 109 km to the southeast, accompanying a thermal anomaly at the summit dome.

Sinabung, Indonesia December 06, 08:56 UTC (Janine)
The Badan Geologi has released an updated map of the summit dome with a length of 215 m, and lava lobe which is now 2,947 m long. Between December 8-15 the instability of the lobe and dome has resulted in an average of 184 seismic events per day. In this period 53 pyroclastic flows have been recorded, traveling up to 4,500 m to the south, and a maximum of 1,000 m to the southeast. The current threat is believed to be limited to a radius of 5 km.

Lava lobe and dome measurements. Courtesy of Badan Geologi.

Lava lobe and dome measurements. Courtesy of Badan Geologi.

Kilauea, Hawaii December 16, 08:46 UTC (Janine)
The active lava flow front was last measured to be approximately 1.8 km (1.1 miles) from the Pahoa Marketplace after traveling 0.8 km (0.5 miles) in just under 3 days. No evacuation has yet been ordered but the Marketplace merchants are on evacuation notice.

Map updated on December 15 (Hawaii time). Courtesy of USGS.

Map updated on December 15 (Hawaii time). Courtesy of USGS.


Bardarbunga, Iceland – December 15, 23:34 UTC (Janine)
The Institute of Earth Sciences has released an updated map of the Holuhraun lava field from December 12. The lava field is now 78.6 km² in size. An ESA Sentinel 1 radar image taken the same day shows the cauldrons in the icecap above Bardarbunga volcano that have formed during the eruption.

Updated 12.12.14, courtesy of the Institute of Earth Sciences.

Updated 12.12.14, courtesy of the Institute of Earth Sciences.

ESA Sentinel 1 Radar image of the icecap above Bardarbunga volcano.

ESA Sentinel 1 Radar image of the icecap above Bardarbunga volcano.

Nevado del Ruiz, Colombia December 15, 18:35 UTC (Armand)
Powerful explosion on a timelapse video + a spectogram showing the tremor at the start of the eruption

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Fogo, Cabo Verde December 15, 17:54 UTC (Armand)
Lava front advance has considerably decreased + new map – Click here to be linked to the “Fogo only” page

Fogo, Cabo Verde December 14, 22:01 UTC (Janine)
Photos of damage caused by the lava flow in Portela and Bangaeira from the Asociación Canaria de Volcanología. – Click here to be linked to the “Fogo only” page

Kilauea, Hawaii December 14, 21:45 UTC (Janine)
The lava flow has advanced approximately 274 m (300 yards) east-northeast since yesterday and is now 2.25 km (1.4 miles) upslope of the Highway 130 and Pahoa Village Road intersection. There is no immediate threat to communities. The Hawaii County Civil Defense released the updated map below showing the current position of the new flow front.

Courtesy of the Hawaii Civil Defense, updated at 7:00 am on 12/14/14.

Courtesy of the Hawaii County Civil Defense, updated at 7:00 am on 12/14/14.

Reventador, Ecuador – December 14, 12:18 UTC (Armand)

Sinabung, Sumatra, Indonesia – December 14, 11:39 UTC (Armand)


2013 : July 8 – July 31
2013 : June 24 – July 7
2013 : June 8 – June 23
2013 : May 26 – June 7
2013 : June 8 – August 20
2013 : August 21 – October 27
2013 : October 28 – December 12
2013 : December 13 – January 30
2014 : February 1 – May 20
2014 : May 21 – August 20
2014 : August 21 – August 28 (Bardarbunga volcano Iceland)
2014 : August 29 – September 4 (Bardarbunga and Tavurvur)
2014 : September 5 – September 18 (Bardarbunga and Mayon)
2014 : September 19 – October 6 (Bardarbunga, Mayon, Long Valley and Ontakesan deadly eruption)
2014 : October 7 – November 4 (Bardarbunga, Kilauea, Chiles, Sinabung)
2014 : November 5 – November 22 (Bardarbunga, Long Valley, Colima, Pavlov, Kilauea, etc)
2014 : November 23 – November 28 (Fogo, Aso, Bardarbunga, etc)
2014 : November 29 – December 4 (Fogo, Bardarbunga, Kilauea, etc)
2014 : December 5 – December 13 (too many to describe)


  1. Gordon Hervey says:

    October 18 2013 UTC
    I always enjoy these reports and wanted to ask a question that I have also posted on Volcano Monitor. Japan Today has an Oct 18 article “Izu Oshima mayor under fire for not issuing evacuation orders.” A Tokyo Uni expert is quoted “the top layer of volcanic ash from recent explosions had been washed off by the massive rainfall….knocking down trees and…houses”. Dozens still missing or dead. My point is that the local volcano Mount Mihara must have had frequent explosions, yet I have not seen the name before now on any listings, anywhere. Modis data problems, Japan keeping secrets, what could this sort of thing imply?

    • Richard Rodger Wilson says:

      Hi Gordon,

      You have to remember, when a volcanologist (geologist) says “recent” he may be referring to an event that has occurred during the last 10,000 years! Mount Mihara has in fact erupted more recently (in a big way in 1986!) to produce exposed ash layers on the island. Regardless of their age, fragmental volcanic deposits are always susceptible to remobilization from heavy rains. If you live any time on a volcano you will understand this, so I don’t understand the accusatory aspect of the headline.

      Thanks for reading our report!


    • Gordon Hervey says:

      Thanks very much for your reply, I’m browsing a bit to try and find how ‘recent’ the Mt Mihara explosions have been. Apparently the mayor was out of town during the typhoon and took a decision NOT to evacuate Izu. As it turned out, that cost a lot of lives. It would seem to me that the description of ash buildup as ‘recent’ probably means ‘since the previous typhoon’, as otherwise the disaster might have occured then?

  2. Craig Heden says:

    Multiple seismo stations around Mt. Shasta are showing what appears to be episodic “pulses” of activity.
    The amplitude of some events are significantly higher than what I usually see.
    I am in visual contact with Mt. Shasta from my home, and no weather-related phenomena appears present.
    I wonder if this is the beginning/associated of deep-tremor event, or whether there is magmatic movement involved? Or, maybe purely tectonic?
    Maybe Roger can comment if this activity is indeed unusual?

    • Armand Vervaeck says:

      I will surely ask Rodger, Craig – Thanks for commenting

    • Richard Rodger Wilson says:

      Hi Craig,

      I’m pretty sure the pulses (the longer, cigar-shaped signals?) you refer to are actually produced by trains (provided you are looking at the northwest flank and Military Pass seismometers). How do I know this you ask?,…I used to maintain the College of the Siskiyous seismographs way back in the early 1980′s for Mr. Paul Dawson who was the C.O.S. Geology Instructor at that time.

      Thanks for your readership Craig!


    • Craig Heden says:

      Rodger and Armand,
      Thanks for your attention to my question. The two stations I was noting unusual seismo-signals were LMP and LGB. Both stations appear quite a ways away from the railroad. Also, as of now, (10-17-13, 12:36 PDT), both stations indicate different types of activity occurred early in the plot as compared to later on. The time duration for each period of elevated signals is also is quite long. I know how long the freight trains can be up there ( I fish the Cantera loop area often), but the duration of the activity appears too long for even the largest trains? Thanks again if you have any further info or theories to share.

  3. Matthew says:

    Some red on the White Island seismic drum today!
    pretty hard to tell whether there was actually an eruption or not, typical NZ weather!

  4. Paul Wyse says:

    I’m curious about the fact that the main seismograph for Cerro Negro in Nicaragua picks up so many more of the volcanic earthquakes at Momotomobo than any of the other INETER seismographs. Has anyone speculated on a remote plumbing connection between Cerro Negro and Momotombo even though they seem to be a litte too far apart? Telica is certainly much closer to Cerro Negro than Momotombo is and yet it seems that there’s only tectonic earthquakes that seem to show up on both the Cerro Negro and Telica graphs.

    • Richard Rodger Wilson says:

      Hi Paul,

      Sorry it’s taken so long for me to respond to your questions! I’m not that familiar with seismic equipment that INETER has on each of the volcanoes, but the discrepencies you noted in seismic data from adjacent volcanoes usually results from: a) different settings in the gain or amplification of individual stations, and b) the type of seismometers placed on individual volcanoes. For instance, many observatories have switched-over to using broad-band instrumentation at volcanoes during the past decade to detect (just as the name implies) the broader range of seismic wave frequencies generated by volcanoes. The “old school” (i.e. less sensitive) single-component vertical seismometers (but continue to be used) are most sensitive to the relatively high frequencies (> 5Hz) generated by nearby events and have difficulty in detecting special types (low-frequency) of volcanic earthquakes as well as more distant events.

      Hope this helps!

  5. rachael says:

    hello i live twety miles of mount shasta its looms in our view in most siskiyou couny. I dont feel it will blow up no earth quakes here the large earth quake a while ago originating frm lassen was not even noticable my thaughts are that lassen will be going sooner tan later that is not far from here
    George Wilson.. if you ever need photos or information from someone who lives next to mount shasta let me know… your site is so great thanks yu

    • Armand Vervaeck says:

      Thanks George! There was just a small earthquake at Mount Shasta overnight! I used to live in Weed for three years in the early 1980′s. There was alot more activity around Shasta at that time. You are right, it is very quiet for a volcano!

  6. Hi My name is Alex Schmollinger and I’m from Dallas TX and i just want too know is MT. Shasta getting ready too go off and blow it’s top in the 2013 year too come and i was in the Shasta area and i didn’t see any smoke or feel any recent quakes around the big Shasta Volcano so i need someone out there too tell me is Mt Shasta going too go off in 2013 year span or no?

    • Richard Rodger Wilson says:

      Hi Alex,

      Actually, Mount Shasta is one of the “quieter” Cascade volcanoes. There were seismic episodes during the late 1970′s, early 1980′s and again in the early 1990′s that made volcanologists sort of sit up and take notice of Mount Shasta, but since those periods,…the volcano has been relatively silent.

  7. v says:

    “This is likely the result of the infamous “familiarity breeds contempt” syndrome where the local population becomes complacent near a growing lava dome.” The real problem is that the scientists are blind and they suffer from the same syndrome.

    • Richard Rodger Wilson says:

      Hi v,

      Not so much the scientists being blind in this case. We are all to some extent free to (…and guilty of) ignore clear warning signs in all sorts of circumstances.

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