Worldwide VOLCANO news – April 2012

This is the overview of our “volcano news” articles we have written in April 2012.
Click on this link to read our latest volcano news

April 27, 2012

Mexico / Popocatépetl thermal image from space
Located about 70 kilometers (40 miles) southeast of Mexico City, Popocatépetl (pronounced poh-poh-kah-TEH-peh-til) is one of Mexico’s most active volcanoes. The towering stratovolcano has been erupting since January 2005, with near constant venting from fumaroles, punctuated by minor steam, gas, and ash emissions. Activity began to pick up significantly in mid-April 2012. The Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) instrument on NASA’s Terra satellite captured this nighttime view of the eruption at 10:53 p.m. local time (04:53 Universal Time) on April 25, 2012. ASTER is capable of measuring electromagnetic radiation from multiple parts of the electromagnetic spectrum. This image is thermal infrared and shows how much heat was emanating from different parts of the volcano. The hottest areas are the brightest; cooler areas are darker. The white dot in the center of the image is a hotspot within Popocatépetl’s summit crater. The upper reaches of the mountain were significantly cooler than the surrounding landscape. Popocatépetl’s plume, shown blowing south, was also cool. A status report released on April 25 by the Mexican National Center for Disaster Prevention (CENAPRED) noted the plume was comprised of ash and gas and drifting 1.5 kilometers (0.9 miles) above the surface. There have been reports of ash falling in Atlixco, a small city southeast of the volcano. (text and image NASA Earth Observatory - text belongs mainly to the thermal picture)

Active volcanoes in the world
11 volcanoes have shown changes in activity last week. New unusual activity has been noticed around 4 volcanoes.

Chuginadak Island 52.825°N, 169.944°W; summit elev. 1730 m
AVO reported that elevated surface temperatures were observed over Cleveland in satellite imagery during 17-18 April. An explosion on 19 April at 0438, detected by seismometers at Makushin and Okmok volcanoes, generated an ash cloud the rose 4-6 km (13,100-19,700 ft) a.s.l. and drifted S. Satellite images showed block-and-ash deposits extending for up to 1 km down the S flank. A possible weak thermal anomaly was detected in images during 20-21 April.

Eastern Java (Indonesia) 7.979°S, 113.342°E; summit elev. 1651 m
CVGHM reported that, although weather conditions often prevented observations of Lamongan during 9 March-17 April, white plumes were occasionally seen rising 10-20 m above the crater rim. Seismicity decreased during this period. CVGHM lowered the Alert Level to 1 (on a scale of 1-4) on 19 April.

Sulawesi 1.358°N, 124.792°E; summit elev. 1580 m
CVGHM reported that during the morning on 24 April diffuse white plumes rose 25-50 m above Tompaluan crater, in the saddle between the Lokon-Empung peaks. Later that day an eruption was accompanied by loud "thumping" noises heard at local observation posts, though fog prevented views of the crater. The next day diffuse white plumes rose 50-100 m above the crater. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a scale of 1-4).

México 19.023°N, 98.622°W; summit elev. 5426 m
CENAPRED reported that multiple gas-and-ash plumes rose from Popocatépetl on 18 April; one of the emissions was accompanied by increased incandescence in the crater. An explosion ejected incandescent fragments that landed on the N and NE flanks as far as 800 m from the crater. The fragments landed on snow and generated small lahars. A dense gas, steam, and ash plume drifted E and SE. On 19 April gas-and-ash plumes rose above the crater and drifted ESE, and incandescent fragments rolled 1 km down the flanks. The next day an episode of spasmodic tremor was accompanied by a dense plume of gas, water vapor, and ash that rose 1.5 km and drifted E. During 21-23 April gas-and-steam emissions that sometimes contained small amounts of ash drifted SE, E, and SW. Seismicity was low during 21-22 April and again increased on 23 April. That same day an ash plume drifted NE and incandescent fragments were ejected W. The Alert Level remained at Yellow Phase Three.

Ongoing activity was noted among the following volcanoes :
Etna, Sicily (Italy) - Karymsky, Eastern Kamchatka (Russia) - Kilauea, Hawaii (USA) - Nevado del Ruiz (Colombia) - Puyehue-Cordón Caulle (Chile) - Reventador (Ecuador) - Santa María (Guatemala) - Shiveluch, Central Kamchatka (Russia) - Tungurahua (Ecuador) - Villarrica (Chile)

April 26, 2012

Japan / Sakurajima volcano
The videos below belong to photovolcanica .com and have been uploaded after a visit in the beginning of April.
Activity is high at that moment but was irregular (compared to Dec. 2009-Jan. 2010 visit) during the viewing period with some long periods of weak ash venting during which no explosive eruptions occurred. Magnitude of the explosive eruptions appeared similar based on visual observations.

Powerful upward-directed vulcanian explosion from Mount Sakurajimas Showa crater on 10.04.12, 09:26 local time.

Dense ash cloud and showers of volcanic bombs are emitted from Mount Sakurajimas Showa crater on 06.04.12, 06:32 local time. Note huge volcanic bombs thrown to right from crater.




April 25, 2012

Italy / Sicily / Etna / New eruption
Enjoy the beautiful video from Klaus Dorschfeldt from Etnawalk. This is the 25th paroxysm of Etna's new SE crater. The darkness is making the eruption very intriguing and spectacular. The explosions can well be heard.


April 24, 2012

Gunung Lokon crater - image courtesy

Indonesia / Sulawesi / Mount Lokon
Mount Lokon erupted yesterday at 10:20 pm local time. The ground was shaking slightly in a radius of 5 km around the volcano. The authorities have set a NO-GO radius of 2.5 km around the volcano and do have plans ready to make the radius even bigger in which case villages might have to be evacuated. There are NO settlements within the current 2.5 km zone. The evacuation plans go back to last year's eruption when the volcano first erupted after a long time of little activity. Since that moment, the volcano has erupted in a similar way than yesterday. Indonesia's BNPB is on site to provide assistance to the Tomohon district. BNPB asks people should remain calm and continue to improve preparedness .
Gunung Lokon, as the people call the volcano in Indonesia, can harm flight traffic to and from Manado as this big Sulawesi city is very nearby. The airport had to be closed a few times because of too much ash particles in the air.
Mount Lokon is currently classified in Siaga level by the Indonesian volcano authorities (PVMBG) (unchanged since July 24 2011) . Siaga is the second highest alert level on 4.
No recent images yet as it was very cloudy during the eruption. All pictures of the erupting volcano on the Internet are older ones.
Read also our in-depth article we wrote about the July 24 eruption (July 11 until August 22).


April 23, 2012

Italy / Sicily / Etna / New eruption

A new eruption is currently going on (The 25th paroxysm of Etna's new SE crater) . You can watch the eruption at the following streaming webcam or by one of the many webcams on this page. Good luck. (written at 22:30 UTC). Thanks to ER readers Roland and Nataly to inform us on what was happening.

April 21, 2012

Italy / Sicily / Etna
Weak ash emissions from deep strombolian activity within the New SE crater has been observed since last evening (20 April). If the eruption patterns remains more or less the same, a new paroxysm is probably under way within the next days. (text : volcano discovery)

Mexico / Popocatépetl
ER reader Leona send us a link of an article of The article is well written, but we mainly like to inform our readers of this article because of the beautiful pictures of Popocatépetl

The nearly 18,000-foot volcano - Popo for short and known as Don Goyo to Ochoa and other locals - has rumbled to life anew: spitting ash, steam and brimstone, flaring an ominous orange along its night-shaded rim. $$$$$

April 20, 2012

Mexico / Popocatépetl
CENAPRED has raised the alert status of Popocatépetl to the third highest level (5 out of 7) and considers the possibility of a major eruption. The volcano continues to have elevated levels of seismicity, and produces frequent steam and ash emissions raising about 1 km above the crater. Local authorities are preparing for potential evacuations. The last time evacuations were ordered on a large scale was in 2000 when over 50,000 people had to leave their homes. The major hazards of a larger eruption would be ash falls, pyroclastic flows, lahars produced by mixing of water and tephra. (text : volcano discovery)

The video below is a nice NoComment video from Euronews, showing the ash-erupting volcano against a blue sky

This (older) video gives a better idea how the eruptions at Popocatépetl take place. The video shows how a normal volcano climb turns into an unexpected nightmare when the volcano suddenly send an ash cloud into the air (read ash, hot rocks and even volcano bombs)

Cabo Verde / Fogo
Anomalous seismic activity is recorded within the island of Fogo, Cape Verde. The permanent instrumental network "Cape Verde Volcano Observatory (OVCV)" which is monitoring the volcanic island of Fogo recorded at 14:43 Cape Verde Time on April 12, 2012 an earthquake whose epicenter was located below Fogo Island, more specifically within "Chã das Caldeiras". The analysis of seismic records confirm that the magnitude of the earthquake was 2.9 on the Richter scale at a depth of 2.9 km. This observation would explain that the earthquake was felt in neighboring "Cha das Caldeiras". $$$$

April 19, 2012

Ecuador / Reventador
Reventador continues to be mildly active with ongoing weak to moderate steam and ash emissions. The Instituto Geofísico reports a 2 km high column of steam and ash rising from Reventador volcano on 18 April. The ash cloud moved to the NW.
IG characterizes the actual activity level (visual and seismic activity) of Reventador "moderate". No major changes have been observed at the volcano in recent days.
(source : volcano discovery)

Papua New Guinea / Mt Lamington
According to, Mt Lamington volcano in New Guinea is showing some signs of becoming active. According to the brief news, locals from the community of Popendetta reported "smoke and ash emission on March 25". No original source or other reports could be located so far to confirm new activity.
Mt Lamington volcano is an andesitic stratovolcano with a 560 m high summit lava dome that grew during 1951-56, following a brutal reawakening with a major explosive eruption in 1951, which produced lava flows and devastating pyroclastic flows, and killed about 3-4000 people.
(source : volcano discovery)

USA / Hawaii / Kilauea
Lava levels in Kīlauea's newest crater, the Overlook Vent within Halema‘uma‘u, have reached their highest point of 70m / 230ft below the 1974 crater floor, matching conditions in March 2011 just prior to the 5-day Kamoamoa fissure eruption. Glow from the edge of Kīlauea caldera has been strong over the past month, except on exceptionally rainy nights! Speaking of the volcano's summit, it has been swelling significantly over the past 6 months - a total increase of 6cm / 2.4in across the caldera! This is not as fast as the previous 12 months, but still notable!
Meanwhile, lava flows on the coast persist and are less than 1.4km / 0.9mi from reaching the ocean, but don't seem to be in a hurry to get there. The flows are still quite active, but spreading out across the plain rather than focusing in one direction. They are still accessible and the hike (with proper access across private land) is getting shorter! At some point soon, there may be the chance to safely see an ocean entry, that is if nothing else changes in the meantime... stay tuned!
(source : volcano discovery)

Iceland / 15 years of earthquakes and eruptions
The video shows 15 years worth of Earthquakes and Eruptions in Iceland since 1996. Dark colors indicate deep quakes, while bright colored ones are shallow. The size of the circles indicate the quake's magnitude.
Stars indicate eruptions.
At 24 frames per second and one day per frame, every second of this video shows the seismic activity for almost a month.
All in all the video shows 242,724 Earthquakes and 7 volcanic eruptions.

April 18, 2012

Indonesia / Java / Ijen volcano
Ijen volcano in East Java has calmed down again, although its alert level is still at 3 (out of 4).
Our expedition leader Andi visited the volcano and the observatory and confirms that seismic activity and degassing from the lake have decreased during the past 2-3 weeks. However, PVMBG ( the Volcanological Survey of Indonesia) still keeps the status at level 3 ("eruption warning") and the crater is off-limits to tourists.
(source : volcano discovery)

April 17, 2012

Russia / Kamchatka / Sheveluch eruption
Russia's Kamchatka's Sheveluch volcano (3,283-meter high) was spewing ash on Monday to a height of 3 to 10 km.
The 3,283-meter (10,771-foot) Shiveluch volcano increased activity in May 2009 and has been periodically spewing ash from three to ten kilometers. “A powerful eruption of ashes took place at 17:59 UTC on Monday. The ash cloud could be seen from a distance of 40 kilometers. Scientists are saying that this was the strongest eruption since the beginning of 2012. According to scientists, the volcanic activity over the past two-three years has significantly altered the contour of the volcano with the crater increasing in size by 50% and the slopes becoming far steeper than before. The clouds of volcanic ash could also pose threat to air traffic because the tiny particles cause problems with aircraft engine turbines. $$$$$
The video below shows the activity of this beautiful Kamchatka volcano. We do not know exactly when this video was recorded, but the video gives a good idea of what we are talking about.
You can also view the activity of this volcano in rare good weather circumstances by following the following link (if black, it means that you are viewing the webcam while night!)

April 14, 2012

Active volcanoes in the world
13 volcanoes have shown changes in activity last week. New unusual activity has been noticed around 4 volcanoes.

Chuginadak Island 52.825°N, 169.944°W; summit elev. 1730 m
AVO reported that a small explosion from Cleveland was detected at 0112 on 4 April by distant seismic stations and infrasound arrays. Weather conditions prevented the detection of a possible eruption cloud in satellite images or by visual observation of the summit. Observations the next day revealed a thermal anomaly and that the 70-m-diameter lava dome had been destroyed by the explosion. This was the third lava dome that was erupted and subsequently destroyed by explosive events since the eruption began in July 2011.
On 6 April two short-duration explosions occurred at about 1635 and 2126. The resulting eruption clouds were ash poor and did not rise above 3 km (10,000 ft) a.s.l. Elevated surface temperatures were observed using infrared satellite images near the times of the explosions. Satellite observations were obscured by clouds during 8-10 April. No seismic information was available because Cleveland does not have a real-time seismic network.

Guatemala 14.473°N, 90.880°W; summit elev. 3763 m
INSIVUMEH reported that during 9-10 April explosions from Fuego produced ash plumes that rose 100-900 m above the crater and drifted 10-15 km E and SE. Explosions produced shock waves detected within 8 km of the volcano. Avalanches descended the flanks.

Colombia 4.895°N, 75.322°W; summit elev. 5321 m
According to INGEOMINAS, the Observatorio Vulcanológico and Sismológico de Manizales reported that during 4-10 April seismicity at Nevado del Ruiz fluctuated but remained elevated. Sulfur dioxide emissions also remained high; occasionally a sulfur odor was reported in Manizales, about 25 km NW. On 5 April a volcano-tectonic earthquake, M 2.8, occurred below Arenas crater at a depth of 1 km, and was the highest magnitude earthquake recorded since February. During 4-6 April gas-and-steam plumes drifted NW. Gas-and-steam plumes rose 3 km above the crater on 7 April and 1.5 km above the crater on 10 April; the plumes drifted SE both days. The Alert Level remained at II (Orange; "eruption likely within days or weeks").
* The video below gives a very good overview of how the authorities manage the current alert states of the volcano (Orange for the volcano and Yellow for the surrounding area). The video dates from April 11.

Montserrat 16.72°N, 62.18°W; summit elev. 915 m
MVO reported that during 30 March-6 April activity at the Soufrière Hills lava dome was generally at a low level and no ash-venting episodes had been detected since 23 March. The average sulfur dioxide emission rate measured during the week was 529 tonnes per day with a minimum of 200 and a maximum of 1,033. Scientists aboard a helicopter overflight on 4 April observed a new vent which had formed on 23 March; it was 30-50 m across and on the W side of the crater floor. The Hazard Level remained at 2.

Ongoing activity was noted among the following volcanoes :
Karymsky, Eastern Kamchatka (Russia) - Kilauea, Hawaii (USA) - Pagan (Mariana Islands) - Puyehue-Cordón Caulle (Chile) - Ranakah, Flores Island (Indonesia) - Santa María (Guatemala) - Shiveluch, Central Kamchatka (Russia) - Tambora, Sumbawa Island (Indonesia) - Tungurahua (Ecuador )

April 13, 2012

Italy / Sicily / Etna / Paroxysm video
Klaus Dorschfeldt, the videomaker of "etnawalk" did it again. He recorded yesterday's paroxysm with the brightest details. The patches of red lava are almost flying in your screen. Congratulations once more to Klaus Dorschfeldt and his collaborators for this outstanding document, thus sharing Sicily's volcano activity with the outside world.

April 12, 2012

Italy / Sicily / Etna / New eruption/paroxysm

Update 16:58 UTC : Julio del Castillo Vivero, a time lapse specialist and skilled photographer who is also supporting our El Hierro story, used 6 webcams to make a very good overview of today's eruption. Enjoy !

Update 13:36 UTC : Volcanic tremor is on the rise at this moment and an eruption has started. A lava flow is flowing down the slope. Click here for the best webcams. Follow the eruption today. Etna erupts regularly with short strong eruptions (paroxysms)

Image courtesy Guide-etna

this is the best webcam viewpoint we found so far - Click on the webpage to go to the live webcam image

Volcanic tremor - image courtesy INGV

Thermal camera image of the current eruption - image courtesy INGV - Click on the image to see the real time image


April 8, 2012

Spain / Canary Islands / Tenerife / Teide
The video below has been published by INVOLCAN in cooperation with the Guardia Civil Helicopter unit (yes, the people responsible for almost all El Hierro submarine volcano eruption helicopter footage). The 15 minute video shows beautiful images of the overflight of the still active Teide, Tenerife's sky high beautiful volcano.

April 7, 2012

Mexico / Colima / 7th Cities ON Volcanoes meeting 19-23/11/2012
This event will have the intention of integrating groups of geoscientists, the general public, and persons involved with all aspects of risk evaluation and mitigation. We hope to promote interaction as much as possible. The meeting will consist of four symposiums, each of which will have various sessions including round-table discussions.
Also it will include an intra-meeting field trip which will visit key locations related to volcanic risk management in Colima. There will be pre and post meeting excursions to other volcanic zones of Mexico and various workshops covering different topics. Additionally we will have cultural events like exhibitions of photos, art, music etc. related to volcanoes. $$$$

April 6, 2012

Active volcanoes in the world
15 volcanoes have shown changes in activity last week. New unusual activity has been noticed around 7 volcanoes (below).

Colombia 4.895°N, 75.322°W; summit elev. 5321 m
According to INGEOMINAS, the Observatorio Vulcanológico and Sismológico de Manizales reported that during 24-31 March seismicity at Nevado del Ruiz increased significantly. Earthquakes indicating rock fracturing occurred W of Arenas crater, exhibiting a pattern observed prior to the eruptions in 1985 and 1989, although less energetic. Starting at 1054 on 29 March, and lasting for about 25 minutes, more than 135 earthquakes were detected S of Arenas crater at a depth of 4 km. At 0400 on 31 March earthquake signals indicating rock fracturing and fluid movement markedly increased. The Alert Level was raised to II (Orange; "eruption likely within days or weeks"). Seismicity remained elevated during 1-3 April; earthquakes were located below Arenas crater at depths between 0.5 and 3 km.

Montserrat 16.72°N, 62.18°W; summit elev. 915 m
MVO reported that during 24-30 March activity at the Soufrière Hills lava dome was generally at a low level and no ash-venting episodes had been detected since 23 March. The average sulfur dioxide emission rate measured during the week was 1,320 tonnes per day with a minimum of 264 and a maximum of 4,594, which was the third-highest value recorded in the last ten years. High values occurred between 24 and 26 March, averaging 2,550 tonnes per day over the three days. The average for the rest of the week was around 400 tonnes per day. The Hazard Level remained at 2.

Central Java (Indonesia) 7.30°S, 109.992°E; summit elev. 3136 m
CVGHM reported that seismicity at Sundoro continued to increase into January after the Alert Level was raised from 1 to 2 (on a scale of 1-4) on 5 December 2011. After the first week of January through 27 March the number of daily earthquakes significantly decreased. The Alert Level was lowered to 1 on 30 March.

Chuginadak Island 52.825°N, 169.944°W; summit elev. 1730 m
AVO reported that on 28 March the Volcano Alert Level for Cleveland was raised to Watch and the Aviation Color Code was raised to Orange due to the formation of a new lava dome, observed in satellite imagery, which extruded in the summit crater during the previous week. During 29 March-3 April cloud cover prevented observations of the crater. Elevated surface temperatures consistent with a hot lava dome were detected in infrared satellite imagery on 4 April. No seismic information was available because Cleveland does not have a real-time seismic network.

Guatemala 14.473°N, 90.880°W; summit elev. 3763 m
INSIVUMEH reported that during 31 March-1 April and 3-4 April explosions from Fuego produced ash plumes that rose 500-800 m above the crater and drifted 10 km W and NW. During the night lava fountains rose 100-150 m above the crater and formed avalanches that traveled towards the Río Cenizas drainage. Based on analysis of satellite imagery, the Washington VAAC reported that on 1 April an ash plume drifted 13 km WSW and a well-defined thermal anomaly was observed.

Southwestern Alaska 60.032°N, 153.090°W; summit elev. 3053 m
AVO reported that during 28 March-3 April seismicity at Iliamna remained above background levels, although just slightly, during 25-27 March. When not obscured by clouds, satellite and web camera views showed nothing unusual. The Alert Level remained at Advisory and the Aviation Color Code remained at Yellow.

Flores Island (Indonesia) 8.542°S, 122.775°E; summit elev. 1703 m
CVGHM reported that seismicity at Lewotobi Lakilaki, one of two stratovolcanoes comprising Lewotobi, fluctuated but declined overall during 18 September 2011-25 March 2012. No significant changes were observed at the volcano. The Alert Level was lowered to 1 (on a scale of 1-4) on 29 March.
Observers of Lewotobi Perempuan, the second stratovolcano comprising Lewotobi, noted that during January-March diffuse white plumes rose 15 m above the crater and no significant changes had occurred. After 31 August 2011 through 25 March 2012 seismicity fluctuated but declined overall. On 29 March the Alert Level was lowered to 1.

Ongoing activity was noted among the following volcanoes :
Etna, Sicily (Italy) - Karymsky, Eastern Kamchatka (Russia) - Kilauea, Hawaii (USA) - Popocatépetl (México) - Puyehue-Cordón Caulle (Chile) - Shiveluch, Central Kamchatka (Russia) - Tengger Caldera, Eastern Java (Indonesia) - Tungurahua (Ecuador)


April 2, 2012

Science / predicting rift volcano eruptions
Scientists are close to predicting large volcanic eruptions, thanks to their plumbing system, an international team of scientists has found after working in Afar (Ethiopia) and Iceland - the only places where mid-ocean ridges appear above sea level. When analyzing these crusts, they found that magma travels through chambers. By studying the locations and behavior of the chambers; they can easily predict volcanic eruptions. Magma chambers work like plumbing systems, channeling pressurized magma through networks of underground "pipes". $$$$$

April 1, 2012

Italy / Sicily / Etna
In fact this eruption (paroxysm) started yesterday evening. See our early report below. People who have responded to that alert must have seen the action in the etna-guide webcam. The HD quality video from Etnawalk shows the explosions in the crater and the lava streams running down the hill. the actual eruption images are starting at 1:30. The video is accompanied by great music!


Costa Rica / Turrialba / Webcam
Turrialba webcam works again. It shows the active crater (West Crater) from an east point of view and allows a good observation of the new fumarolic vent that formed on January 12th, 2012, especially by night (~0h-12h UTC) as it is incandescent (T>750°C). Click here for the webcam link. Click here for more information about the Jan. 12 vent.