Volcano activity of January 7, 2013 - Colima volcano (Mexico) ash cloud eruption (video) + Yellowstone update

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 7, 2013 volcano activity

Update 21:10 UTC on Yellowstone Lake seismic activity
Seems we're getting off to a good (bad?) start with volcanic activity this year!
I have been remiss in keeping abreast of ongoing swarm activity beneath Yellowstone Lake!
I had been watching this area, beginning around 25 December when tiny earthquakes began affecting the area.  They seemed to diminish by the first of the year.  I should have checked Yellowstone seismograms following the Queen Charlotte Islands Earthquake (M7.5) this past Saturday.  The earthquake may have "energized" the then fading (or at least, sluggish!) earthquake swarm.
Remember when I wrote about Long Valley Caldera (CA) being famous for (well, in the volcanological community anyway!) "responding" to large distant earthquakes?
Well, Yellowstone is even more "famous" for such phenomena.  The current swarm is scientifically interesting for two other reasons.
First: Since Winter 2007, the volcano has shown a predilection for experiencing significant earthquake swarms at the December-January cusp (but not last year!).  Such seasonal regularity in volcanic processes at Yellowstone have been noted before, namely during the late summer-early fall "thermal events" which affected many of the volcano's hydrothermal areas through the early 2000's.
Second: The current swarm strikes an area that experienced an intense earthquake swarm during the winter of 2008-2009.  This event has been interpretted by University of Utah researchers (in my words) as an "aborted" eruption of the Yellowstone volcanic system.
Now, before someone takes this information and "runs with it",...the current swarm is not even close to the energy level of the 2008-2009 event!
So, anyone reading this and running-off to their blogs to announce a coming eruption at Yellowstone is an,...well, er,...a not very prudent/intelligent person!

Rodger Wilson

Normal daily report

John Seach (Volcanolive.com) reports a high level of local seismicity has led to Agam volcano (Sumatra) being placed in Alert Level III (out of 4).  The volcano has apparently not erupted since 1839 (no confirming geologic deposits) and experienced at least one earlier episode of internal unrest detected in 2010.


Colima volcano (Mexico) erupted yesterday !.  The attached seismograms show the eruption had been building since 05 January.  Colima's now tranquil again!  The picture source is from @gobiernocolima.
The video below is quiet hilarious. Some climbers and a lot of wind are creating a wild atmosphere. But imagine, how you would behave if suddenly a volcano erupts relatively close to you ! Exciting. Put your sound level low please :)

image courtesy @gobiernocolima

image courtesy @gobiernocolima

KVERT reports volcanic tremor amplitude has increased further (but slightly) at Plosky Tolbachik (Kamchatka Peninsula) in the past day.  Seismicity levels have also increased at nearby volcanoes Klyuchevskoi and SheveluchKizimen volcano re-erupted (a lava flow!) sometime between 28 and 31 December 2012.  The volcano had been placed in eruption code GREEN only one day before!  Seismicity began increasing on 28 December and satellite imagery detected a large thermal anomaly shortly thereafter.  A new lava flow has been visually confirmed on the volcano's flank and seismic and thermal imagery indicate that lava effusion at Kizimen continues (not pictured).


Still issues obtaining seismic data from Mammoth Mountain volcano (CA), but the most recent data do show continued low-level earthquake activity continued beneath the edifice through yesterday (station MRD).  The Northern California regional seismic network (USGS) shows most activity is now located in the Sierra Nevada mountains south of Long Valley Caldera.

Exhalations of gas and minor amounts of ash occur at an average rate of less than one per hour at Popocatepetl volcano (Mexico).  The Popocatepetl seismogram shows low level volcanic tremor and perhaps small earthquakes.


Wind is playing its part in complicating seismograms at the Guatemalan volcanoes today.  Most of the tremor-like signal apparent on seismograms recorded at Pacaya (station PCG), Fuego (station FG3), and Santa Maria (station STG6) volcanoes is likely due to wind.


The swarm of volcanic earthquakes which began yesterday at San Miguel volcano (El Salvador) (station VSM) has subsided, but frequent pulses of tremor (in other words, low amplitude volcanic earthquakes) continue at the volcano.

No current data available from San Cristobal volcano (Nicaragua) today, but volcanic tremor remains elevated at nearby Masaya volcano (station MASN).  Trains of volcanic tremor are apparent on seismograms recorded at Concepcion volcano (station CONN) as well.

Amplitude of low-level volcanic tremor has risen slightly at Nevado Del Ruiz volcano (Colombia) (station OLLZ) over the past day.  Has anyone else noticed the nice correlation between the appearance of tremor at Ruiz with satellite data showing a strong SO2 plume over the volcano?

Tungurahua volcano (Ecuador) (station RETU) appears to be returning to slumber.  EPN warns that the northern flank of the volcano remains inflated.  Reventador volcano (station CONE) exhibits a continued higher level of (co-eruptive?) seismic unrest.

SERNAGEOMIN reports that Copahue volcano (Chile) experienced three seismic swarms yesterday accompanied by increased crater glow and elevated degassing tremor.  Windy weather at that volcano today helps to obscure the eruptive plume in the volcanocam photo.


GNS has declared the end of dome extrusion at White Island volcano (New Zealand).  There have been no identifiable morphologic changes in the construct over the past month, but the volcano is producing 400 tons of SO2 and 1300 tons of CO2 per day.  The continous volcanic tremor recorded at the volcano bears this out!  Windy conditions (?) again today at the other volcanoes Tongariro and Ruapehu.

annotated White Island panorama_20130108

Recent satellite data show the prominent SO2 plume issuing from Nevado Del Ruiz and another plume, detached from Popocatepetl volcano, drifting over the Gulf of Mexico.  Copahue volcano issued a plume of SO2 in conjunction with elevated seismicity there yesterday.

Go (Sea)Hawks!



  1. Can someone please tell me the daily reports of volcano Colima from 8th October 2013 till 10th October 2013

  2. Kandice says:

    Why was the video removed? :/

  3. thats cool i like volcanoes and whats going on around the world.

  4. I am very interested in volcanoes and earthquakes.Like to know what is happening around the world!

    • Thank you for your readership Maria! By the start of things, it looks like this year might be an exciting year for earthquakes and volcanoes!

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