Volcano bits and bites - Montserrat, Mexico, Indonesia (Bali), Italy...

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This report is compiled out of many information sources and is brought to you by volcanologist Philippa (Demonte). Armand (Vervaeck) is backing her up as Philippa is sometimes too busy professionally to post updates.

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Soufriere Hills Volcano, Montserrat, Eastern Caribbean (Philippa)
The Strengthening Resilience in Volcanic Areas (STREVA) project has been creating a new series of videos on Soufriere Hills volcano and the Eastern Caribbean island of Montserrat to add to the ones on Nevada del Ruiz (Colombia) and La Soufriere volcano (St Vincent, Caribbean).

Below is a teaser video about the the mid-1990s eruptions of Soufriere Hills, which destroyed the former capital city of Plymouth and turned the southern half of Montserrat into an exclusion zone.

via STREVA (@StrevaProject)

Montserrat, also known as the Emerald Isle of the Caribbean, was once home to 12,000 people. It was made famous internationally in the 1980s thanks to (Beatles producer) George Martin's Air Studios, where the likes of The Rolling Stones and The Police recorded albums (Video of The Police - 'Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic' - featuring Air Studios Montserrat and footage from the island)

However, following the combination of first a hurricane and then the explosive dome collapse eruptions of Soufriere Hills volcano from the mid-1990s, which turned the southern half of Montserrat into a modern day Pompeii covered with pyroclastic density currents and lahars, many of the original inhabitants had to permanently relocate to overseas.

The image below shows a pyroclastic density current from the explosive eruption on Soufriere Hills Volcano on 25th June 1997, in which 19 people were killed.

via Paul Cole (@PaulCole23)

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The last eruptive phase of Soufriere Hills, which occurred in 2010, completely destroyed the old airport. Although a new airport and catamaran port have since been established in the northern half of the island, because of their lower capacity, the logistics of getting supplies and people on and off island is difficult. As a result, there are now just over 4,000 people living on Montserrat.

The volcano has been relatively quiet in the past 8 years. However, images taken by staff at Montserrat Volcano Observatory and helicopter pilot Greg Scott during reconnaissance flights show that Soufriere Hills Volcano is still active and likely to erupt again in the future.

via Greg Scott (www.facebook.com/bugdriver60)

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Popocatepetl, Mexico (Philippa)
Gif of a volcano 'burp' earlier today at Popocatepetl.

via Webcams de Mexico (@webcamsdemexico)

Mount Agung, Bali, Indonesia (Philippa)
As reported recently, the Alert Level at Mount Agung has been lowered from 4 to 3 following a reduction, but not complete cessation, of activity.

As of today there are currently around 3,000 local inhabitants still at 52 evacuation centres, a reduction from almost 16,000 people at 146 evacuation centres a week ago. Displaced people have gradually been allowed to return home following the reduction of the exclusion zones now to 4 km around the volcano.

via Sutopo Purwo Nugroho (@Sutopo_PN)

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Tourist visits to Bali are safe, but entry to the exclusion zones around Agung on the east of the island are strictly forbidden, as the volcano is still active and capable of explosive eruptions. See the video footage below from a plume-forming eruption which occurred at Agung as recently as 13th February.

via Sutopo Purwo Nugroho (@Sutopo_PN)

Etna, Sicily, Italy (Philippa)
Beautiful shot from earlier today of the 'puttusiddu' vent on Etna. This is the view from (volcanologist) Boris Behncke's kitchen window! He reports that this vent is currently having small ash emissions approximately once or twice an hour, and hot, incandescent (glowing) rock fragments are also visible during these small eruptions.

via Boris Behncke (@etnaboris)

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February 17, 2018

Volcano monitoring and Budget cuts in the USA

February 16

Kadovar volcano, Papua New Guinea
The Rabaul Volcano Observatory's acting assistant director Steve Saunders said a dome of lava had formed and reached about 200 meters out to sea.
Kadovar will be uninhabitable for a very long time.
The majority of the people won't be able to go back for a long time, no."
The video below shows the activity at the volcano shortly after it first erupted on January 7, 2018.

Weekly Volcanic Activity Report: 7 to 13 February 2018
Via Smithsonian Institution - Global Volcanism Program  / US Geological Survey

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Fuego  | Guatemala
INSIVUMEH reported that explosions at Fuego during 7-13 February generated ash plumes that rose as high as 1.5 km and drifted 10-12 km N, NW, SW, and S. Avalanches of material traveled down the Seca (W), Ceniza (SSW), and Taniluyá (SW) drainages on 12 February, and down the Las Lajas (SE) and Honda (E) drainages on 13 February. Ash fell in areas downwind on 13 February including Morelia (9 km SW) and Panimaché (8 km SW).

Kadovar  | Papua New Guinea
RVO reported that on 9 February the lava dome at Kadovar’s SE Coastal Vent collapsed, causing 5-6 minor tsunamis, less than 1 m high, observed by residents on Blup Blup’s E and W coasts. The waves were reported at 1050, before the main collapse of the dome. In a 12 February report RVO noted that activity from Main Crater consisted of white plumes rising 20 m and drifting a few kilometers SE and weak nighttime crater incandescence.

Mayon  | Luzon (Philippines)
PHIVOLCS reported that during 7-13 February activity at Mayon continued to be characterized daily by lava effusion from the summit crater, rockfalls, lava fountains, steam emissions, advancing lava flows on the flanks, and pyroclastic flows. Numerous rockfall events were generated from the front and margins of advancing lava flows. Lava fountaining was nearly continuous during 6-10 February, with around 290 lava-fountaining events recorded by the seismic network from 0557 on 5 February until around 0700 on 10 February. The events each lasted between 3 and 233 minutes, and were accompanied by rumbling sounds audible with a 10-km radius. Lava fountaining was sporadic during 11-13 February. Lava fountains during phases of both nearly continuous and sporadic activity rose as tall as 400 m, and produced steam plumes up to 2.5 km above the crater that drifted in multiple directions. Lava flows advanced to 3.3 km, 4.5 km, and 900 m in the Mi-isi (S), Bonga (SE), and Basud (E) drainages, respectively. Pyroclastic density currents traveled 4.2-4.6 km in the Mi-isi, Bonga, and Basud drainages. The Alert Level remained at 4 (on a 0-5 scale) and the public was warned to remain outside of the Danger Zone defined as an area within an 8-km radius.

February 15

Mayon volcano, Philippines
Beautiful Sentinel 2 satellite image from the lava streams on the Mayon volcano on February 9. Satellite images are giving us more and more details out of space.
This picture contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data [2018], processed by Pierre Markuse

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Ambae volcano, Vanuatu
The picture below (via Sentinel 2) shows the activity of the Ambae volcano on February 8

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Agung volcano, Bali, Indonesia
Video of the explosion at the volcano earlier today at 11:49 local Bali time.

February 13

Agung volcano, Bali, Indonesia
The status of Agung has been lowered from level 4 to 3. The exclusion zone has been reduced to 4 km. Evacuees can go home.
On the photo,  press conference
via Dr. Janine Krippner (@janinekrippner)

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Mayon volcano, Philippines
Jaime Sincioco @jaimessincioco : Latest aerial photos of the restless #Mayon volcano taken during the aerial survey conducted by Phivolcs yesterday

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February 10

Chaiten volcano, Chile (Philippa)
In 2008 the Chaitén volcano erupted after laying dormant for over 9,000 years, sending ash, smoke, and lava flowing into the little town named for the roaring mountain. Juan Santana, a former police officer in the area, walks us through the town, recalling the night that the sky blackened and the landscape shifted, and sharing how the community is rebuilding and "working together for Chaitén."
Philippa: Interesting recollection of the sounds that were heard prior to and during the 2008 eruption.

Kirishima volcano, Japan

JMA latest alert

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General information
Kirishimayama is a large group of more than 20 Quaternary volcanoes located north of Kagoshima Bay. The late-Pleistocene to Holocene dominantly andesitic group consists of stratovolcanoes, pyroclastic cones, maars, and underlying shield volcanoes located over an area of 20 x 30 km. The larger stratovolcanoes are scattered throughout the field, with the centrally located, 1700-m-high Karakunidake being the highest. Onamiike and Miike, the two largest maars, are located SW of Karakunidake and at its far eastern end, respectively. Holocene eruptions have been concentrated along an E-W line of vents from Miike to Ohachi, and at Shinmoedake to the NE. Frequent small-to-moderate explosive eruptions have been recorded since the 8th century.

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February 9, 2018

Weekly Volcanic Activity Report: 31 January - 6 February 2018
Via Smithsonian Institution - Global Volcanism Program  / US Geological Survey

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Fuego  | Guatemala
INSIVUMEH reported that the first Strombolian eruption at Fuego in 2018 began on 31 January, after a thermal anomaly was detected in satellite images the day before. Explosions produced ash plumes that rose 1.5 km above the crater and drifted 20 km SW. Lava fountains rose 300-500 m, and fed lava flows that traveled 800 m W in the Seca (Santa Teresa) drainage and 600 m in Las Lajas (SE) and Honda (E) drainages. On 1 February the eruption style changed to Vulcanian. Pyroclastic flows mainly descended the Seca, Trinidad (S), Las Lajas, and Honda drainages. Ash plumes from explosions rose 3.2 km and drifted more than 60 km NE, SW, and W. Ashfall was recorded in areas downwind including Santa Sofía (12 km SW), Morelia (9 km SW), Panimaché I and II (8 km SW), El Porvenir (8 km ENE), Sangre de Cristo (8 km WSW), Finca Palo Verde, San Pedro Yepocapa (8 km NW), Ciudad Vieja (13.5 km NE), Antigua Guatemala (18 km NE), and W and SW Ciudad de Guatemala. CONRED reported that 2,880 people were evacuated. At 1630 INSIVUMEH noted that the Strombolian-Vulcanian eruption phase had finished, 20 hours after it had begun. Explosions continued, generating ash plumes that rose just under 1 km and drifted 15 km SW.
On 2 February there were 3-5 weak explosion recorded per hour, with ash plumes rising 750 m and drifting 5-8 km W, SW, and S. Shock waves and rumbling were noted, and the lava flows remained visible. During 4-5 February ash plumes from explosions (about 5 per hour) produced ash plumes that rose 700 m and drifted W and SW. Incandescent material was ejected 200 m above the crater, causing weak avalanches of material around the crater area and in some vegetated areas.

Kadovar  | Papua New Guinea
RVO reported that the eruption at Kadovar continued during 31 January-1 February at a low level. Sulfur dioxide emissions and seismicity had both decreased. Dense white vapor plumes rose 100 m from Main Crater and drifted SE. Continuous but dull glow emanated from the crater. The lava dome at the SE Coastal Vent continued to grow. A new lobe 20-30 m long grew out from the seaward side of the dome boundary, channeled by levees which had developed on the sides of the dome. White steam plumes rose 100 m above the island and drifted SE. At 1830 on 1 February a collapse of the N part of the dome produced a gray plume, vigorous steaming at the collapse site, and nighttime incandescence. The main part of the dome had bulged up, and a valley developed in between the dome and the island’s flank.

Karangetang  | Siau Island (Indonesia)
In a VONA issued on 2 February, PVMBG reported an eruption at Karangetang, characterized by crater incandescence and an ash plume that rose 600 m. The Aviation Color Code was raised from Unassigned to Yellow.

Mayon  | Luzon (Philippines)
PHIVOLCS reported that during 31 January-6 February daily activity at Mayon continued to be characterized by lava effusion from the summit crater, rockfalls, pyroclastic flows (31 January-1 February), ash and steam emissions, advancing lava flows on the flanks, and weak and sporadic lava fountains. Numerous rockfall events were generated by the growing and collapsing summit lava dome and from the front and margins of advancing lava flows. On 31 January pyroclastic flows traveled as far as 2 km in the Mi-isi (S), Basud (E), and Bonga (SE) drainages. White-to-light-gray ash plumes generally rose to low heights, though five events generated ash plumes that rose as high as 1 km above the crater rim. An event on 2 February also produced an ash plume that rose 1 km. The first of two lava fountaining events on 4 February lasted sporadically for 114 minutes, generated an ash plume that rose 500 m, and produced booming sounds heard within a 10-km radius. During 5-6 February high volumes of effused lava extended the lava flows in the Mi-isi, Bonga-Buyuan, and Basud drainages to 3.2, 4.5, and 3 km, respectively. The Alert Level remained at 4 (on a 0-5 scale) and the public was warned to remain outside of the Danger Zone defined as an area within an 8-km radius.

San Miguel  | El Salvador
On 2 February SNET reported that seismicity at San Miguel was decreasing, along with a decrease in emissions. RSAM values fluctuating between 63 and 114 units; normal values are between 50 and 150. Small pulses of gas near the crater rim were visible.

February 7, 2018

#VolcanoCup on Twitter (Philippa)
For those of you on Twitter, you may wish to follow the #VolcanoCup hash-tag this month in an online competition being run by former Earthquake-Report scribe Dr Janine Krippner (@janinekrippner).

The USA preliminary rounds just started yesterday, in which Crater Lake (the day's winner!), Bogoslof, Mount Hood, and Redoubt battled it out.

Today's round features Mt. Rainier, Long Valley Caldera, Mt. Baker, and Glacier Peak.

Below is the overview of the other forthcoming USA prelim rounds:

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....and the overview of the forthcoming worldwide rounds of #VolcanoCup are as follows:

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Voting is open to anyone and everyone, but the rules are that you have to give at least one reason for your choice. This means a little homework for all of us, but will be a great way to get to know more about these volcanoes, their specific hazards, and the risks that they pose to people, whether the threats are to communities living directly on the flanks or, for example, to aviation routes.

Forthcoming - interactive webinars with volcanologists (Philippa)
If any of you are middle school teachers or pupils, make a note in your diaries: 3 volcanologists from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and Volcano Disaster Assistance Program (VDAP) will be doing live interactive webinars in March:

  • 6 March with Angie Diefenbach
  • 13 March with Heather Wright
  • 20 March with Richard Iverson

I have had the pleasure of going on fieldwork in Chile with Angie and Heather and learned so much from both of them, in particular about laser scanning of volcanoes for creating digital elevation models and hazard maps (Angie), and what pumices rocks (frothy lava) found at the surface can tell us about the dynamics inside a volcano during its previous eruption(s) (Heather). So this is a great opportunity for you to ask them questions too.

Full details are given in the image below:

via USGS Volcanoes (@USGSVolcanoes)

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Yasur, Tanna Island, Vanuatu (Philippa)
A great little video of an ash-rich eruption with ballistics (flying rocks) at Yasur volcano.

via Benjamin Simons (@dread_rocks)

Weekly Volcanic Activity Report: 24 January - 30 January 2018
Via Smithsonian Institution - Global Volcanism Program  / US Geological Survey

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Kadovar | Papua New Guinea
Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO) reported that the eruption at Kadovar continued during 23-24 January at levels similar to the previous few days. Main Crater produced light-grey to brown ash plumes that rose at most 100 m and drifted a few tens of km W. Weak incandescence (glow) from Main Crater was visible at night. The lava dome at the SE Coastal Vent continued to grow and was an estimated 50 m above sea level (a.s.l.)(the water depth in that area was unknown) and extends out from the coast 150-200 m. The dome glowed red at night. Seismicity was low to moderate, with one high-frequency event, and 12 significant numerous small low-frequency events. Strong sulphur dioxide emissions were detected.

Kusatsu-Shiranesan | Honshu (Japan)
The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) reported that after the 23rd January eruption near Motoshiranesan (the highest peak belonging to the Kusatsu-Shiranesan complex) seismicity, characterized by volcanic earthquakes and tremor, was elevated; it decreased the next day. Minor but elevated seismicity continued through 30 January, punctuated by periods of tremo. The eruption occurred from a fissure orientated E-W, located just inside the N rim of the northernmost Kagamiike Kitahi craters. JMA noted no juvenile (new) material in the eruption deposits. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a 5-level scale).

Mayon | Luzon (Philippines)
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) reported that during 23-29 Januar there were 2-7 daily episodes of intense and sporadic lava fountaining at Mayon, each lasting 7-74 minutes. The lava fountains rose as high as 600 m above the crater rim, and fed flows in the Mi-isi and Bonga drainages and incandescent rockfalls on the summit area. Ash plumes rose 3-5 km above the crater. As many as three pyroclastic flows each day were detected by the seismic network, and had runout distances exceeding 5 km in the Buyuan drainage. Numerous rockfall events were generated by the growing and collapsing summit lava dome and traveled into the Bonga drainage, and from the front and margins of the advancing 3-km-long lava flow on the Mi-isi drainage. The Buyuan lava flow was 1 km long. Sulphur dioxide gas emissions were between 1,252 and 2,466 tonnes/day during 23-25 January. Heavy rain triggered lahars in the Binaan drainage during 28-29 January.

A cycle of energetic lava effusion with sporadic lava fountaining, and pyroclastic flows from lava-collapse events, occurred late on 29 January. The events were mostly visually obscured, and indicated by seismic data. The period began with a large-volume lava collapse at 19:50 at the summit crater that generated pyroclastic flows in the Mi-isi and Bonga drainages. Lava fountaining was detected at 20:16 and lasted eight minutes. This was followed by large-volume lava effusion that lasted 96 minutes, and was interspersed with sporadic lava fountaining and/or pyroclastic flows. Sporadic lava fountaining was visually and seismically detected until 23:06, with lava fountains rising as high as 200 m. Ash plumes rose 1.5 km above the crater. Significant ashfall was reported in Camalig and Guinobatan, Albay before 21:00, possibly resulting from the lava fountaining and pyroclastic flows.

San Miguel | El Salvador
Servicio Nacional de Estudios Territoriales (SNET) reported that during 25-26 January seismic activity at San Miguel was slightly higher than normal, with RSAM (seismic counts) values fluctuating between 75 and 179 units. Small pulses of gas near the crater rim were visible.

Zaozan | Honshu (Japan)
JMA reported that tremor was detected at Zaozan on 28 and 30 January, and minor inflation at the S part of the volcano was recorded. There were 12 volcanic earthquakes detected on 31 January. JMA raised the Alert Level to 2 (on a 5-level scale), noting the increased potential for a small eruption.

February 2, 2018

Volcano news - Archive Nr. 15

Volcano news - Archive Nr. 14

Volcano news - Archive Nr. 13

Volcano news - Archive Nr. 12

Volcano news - Archive Nr. 11

Volcano news - Archive Nr. 10

Volcano news - Archive Nr. 9

Volcano news - Archive Nr. 8

Volcano news - Archive Nr. 7

Volcano news - Archive Nr. 6

Volcano news - Archive Nr. 5

Volcano news - Archive Nr. 4

Volcano news - Archive Nr. 3

Volcano news - Archive Nr. 2

Volcano news - Archive Nr. 1


  1. Hmm is anyone else encountering problems with the images on this blog
    loading? I'm trying to determine if its a problem on my end or if
    it's the blog. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

  2. Are there any volcanic action around Mexico City?

  3. bocquez says:


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