Volcano activity of January 5, 2013

This (almost) daily post intends to follow up the activity changes of volcanoes all over the world.
This post is written by geologist Richard Wilson who specializes in Volcano seismicity and Armand Vervaeck. Please feel free to tell us about new or changed activity if we haven't written about it. -

January 5, 2013 volcano activity

Extrusion of basaltic lava continues unabated at Plosky Tolbachik today.  In fact, KVERT reports a slight increase in volcanic tremor amplitude during the past day.

Deep earthquakes (12-15 km) continue beneath Mammoth Mountain volcano (CA) (station MRD).  I have included tilt meter and dilatometer data (USGS) to show the slight deformation occurring in conjunction with the ongoing earthquake swarm as well as a strain "step" produced by the volcanic system's reaction to passing wave from the M7.5 Queen Charlotte Islands earthquake (the large, long duration event on the second record).  The Long Valley volcanic system is well known for being sensitive/reactive to local and distant tectonic earthquakes (as are many other volcanic areas worldwide!).

The rate of exhalations of gas and some ash at Popocatepetl volcano (Mexico) increased slightly during the past 24 hours to an average of just under two per hour.


Activity is status quo for Guatemalan volcanoes Fuego and Santa Maria, with slow, steady lava extrusion occurring at both (nothing exciting in the seismic data today).  A small pyroclastic flow can be seen descending the slopes of  the Santiaguito dome complex in today's volcanocam photo.  Pacaya volcano continues to "perk" with small volcanic earthquakes at an increased rate (station PCG).

Access to seismic data from Nicaraguan volcanoes was not possible today.

Volcanic earthquakes (or at least bursts of higher amplitude volcanic tremor) have appeared on seismograms at San Miguel volcano (El Salvador) (station VSM)  during the past few hours.

Small earthquakes and low-level volcanic tremor also affect Nevado Del Ruiz volcano (Colombia) (station OLLZ) again today.  The larger amplitude events on the Ruiz record are regional and teleseismic (including the M7.5 Queen Charlotte earthquake) events.

Seismicity (and surface activity) has rapidly declined at Tungurahua volcano (Ecuador) (station RETU) during the past week, while activity (both internal and external) appears on the rise again at Reventador volcano (station CONE).

SERNAGEOMIN reports generally low level activity (degassing tremor and nighttime crater glow) continues at Copahue volcano (Chile-Argentina border), but occasional swarms of deeper volcanic and volcano-tectonic earthquakes require that the volcano remain at a heightened (Yellow) alert stage.


Volcanic tremor is on the rise once again at White Island volcano (New Zealand), some local earthquakes dot Ruapehu seismograms, while local seismicity is non-existent on displayed seismograms from Tongariro volcano.


Recent satellite data shows significant SO2-enriched plumes drifting from Popocatepetl volcano and Ambrym volcano (Vanuatu).


  1. Hi Kevin,

    It is mostly as you say. Nowadays, nearly everyone has a cell phone with a camera enabling them to catch every burp and snort from their "neighborhood volcano" . But, on the other hand, volcanoes can behave as very sensitive strainmeters and can be very "responsive" to minute changes in the state of stress around them. Depending on their internal state, volcanoes can experience unrest/eruptions just prior to and/or following local, regional and even distant earthquakes. I must qualify this last statement as many volcanologists still don't believe that this truly happens!

    Thank you for your readership!

  2. I am curious to know if there is some ''anomoly'' as to why there is so much activity at the same time.....

    Is it that we are just able to ''know this''' because of our I-phones, twitter, emails, etc........Or are there an unusual number of volcanoes erupting, or preparing to do so........

    Thank you for your time.

    Kevin Garvey

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