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Volcano bits and bites - Vanuatu, Kamchatka, USA ...

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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.

Mount Rainier, Washington State, USA (Philippa)
Below is a link to a short but really informative video produced by Central Washington University talking about Mount Rainier, previous volcanic eruptions and lahars (mud and debris flows), and how areas such as Tacoma and the Puget Sound could be affected by future eruptions of this volcano.

via KCTS 9 (@KCTS9) / Nick Zentner (@GeologyNick)

Yasur, Vanuatu (Philippa)
The series of images below, shot with a thermal imaging (FLIR - Forward Looking Infra-Red) camera, show Yasur volcano blowing a smoke ring.

via Benjamin Simons (@dread_rocks)

Yasur Ben Simons 23Aug2017

Such phenomena are rare, but are formed when a volcano emits a sudden gas slug and a bit of steam (water vapour) into clear air above. If this is ejected through a narrow vent, the outer edges of the gas slug are slowed down by still air relative to its centre.

Smoke rings have also been observed at volcanoes such as Mount Etna:

via Geoff Mackley / YouTube:

Klyuchevskoy volcano, Kamchatka, Russia (Philippa)
Klyuchevskoy volcano is looking resplendent as ever in eruption.

Over the weekend we shall post images from an expedition to some of the other volcanoes in Kamchatka.

via the Institute of Volcanology and Seismology - Kamchatka branch


Kilauea, Hawaii, USA (Philippa)
One of the reasons why we at Earthquake-Report.com worry about tourist boats on Big Island, Hawaii getting too close to the lava-ocean entry at Kamokuna is this. Although lava falls are beautiful and beguiling, they are also highly toxic and dangerous. This short-lived one (9 1/2 hours) on 19 August produced both laze, which is hydrochloric acid steam generated by the chemical reaction of the hot lava mixing with cold (salty) sea water, and littoral (sea) explosions of sharp, hot rocks that can cause serious burns and impact injuries.

Also - the neighbouring lava delta is cracked and unstable, and is likely to collapse sometime in the near future.

via Hawaiian Volcano Observatory / US Geological Survey

Kilauea lava fall 19Aug2017USGS

August 24, 2017

Sakurajima volcano, Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan (Philippa)
Thanks to Boris Behncke (@etnaboris) for noticing that there has been near-continuous Strombolian-style eruptive activity (lava fountaining, volcanic gas slugs, etc) at Sakurajima volcano in southern Japan.

Sakurajima 23Aug2017

Click on the link below to watch live:

Live webcam: Sakurajima volcano

Volcanism in Australia (Philippa)
As we have previously mentioned here on the Earthquake-Report.com, mythologies and legends can be useful for helping to better understand the geological evidence when piecing together the order of eruptive events, particularly in locations such as Hawaii. Australia is no exception. See the hyperlink below for an interesting article on the Australian Aboriginal oral story telling traditions and how this is now being related to the volcanic activity which occured in northern Queensland and the southern Australian state of Victoria.

via Adam Kent (@geowhateverist)

When the Bullin shrieked: Aboriginal memories of volcanic eruptions thousands of years ago

Newberry lava tunnels, Oregon, USA (Philippa)
Some images below from inside lava tunnels and Boyd Cave at the Newberry National Volcanic Monument in Oregon. Lava tunnels originally start as lava flows, which then build up side levees and eventually form a crust (roof) on top. The lava within is insulated and therefore able to flow further. Eventually the source of the lava is depleted, and tunnels and caves such as the ones in these images are the remnants.

If any of you are interested in visiting other lava caves and tunnels, as well as these ones in Oregon, I can highly recommend a visit to Craters of the Moon in Idaho, USA, or to Lanzarote in the Canary Islands.

via Frances Boreham (@FrancesBoreham)

Newberry lava tunnels

Post-IAVCEI (volcanology) conference field trips, USA (Philippa)
Thanks to delegates for posting the following images from the post-IAVCEI (volcanology) conference field trips in the north west of the USA.

The first two images were taken in the 15 million year old Mahogany Mountain caldera (collapsed roof of a magma 'chamber' after a large eruption), which is located near to the Oregon-Idaho border. Its eruptive source is thought to have been the 'hotspot' (upwelling of mantle) which is now under Yellowstone.

via Fumihiko Ikegami (@fikgm)

Mahogany Mountain Caldera

The image (below) from a different location on the same field trip shows units of rhyolitic lava within the Columbia River Basalt Group in Eastern Oregon. Basaltic lava is more mafic, i.e. it contains more iron compounds, whereas rhyolitic lava is more felsic, i.e. it contains a higher percentage of silica. If both types of lava are found in the same area, this tells us a lot about the nature of historic eruptions. Basaltic lava is primitive and tends to erupt as flows or cinder cones, whereas rhyolitic lava has spent more time underground evolving before erupting explosively.

via M. C. Williamson (@mc_north)

Columbia River basalts

August 23, 2017

Fuego volcano, Guatemala
Activity rises,2 lava flows are present
Via @CultureVolcan and Insuvumeh Guatemala

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Sakurajima volcano, Japan

August 20, 2017

Volcano activity for the week of August 9 until August 15, 2017

Screen Shot 2017-08-19 at 12.40.11-compressed

Kerinci  | Indonesia
Based on satellite data, the Darwin VAAC reported that on 13 August an ash plume from Kerinci rose to an altitude of 4.3 km (14,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted WSW. Plumes drifted almost 30 km on 17 November.

Pacaya  | Guatemala
On 12 August INSIVUMEH reported that Strombolian explosions at Pacaya’s Mackenney cone were observed. During 12-13 August the number of Strombolian explosions increased to a rate of 5-7 per hour, and ejected incandescent material was mainly visible at night. Explosions vibrated structures in communities within a 5-km radius. Activity continued at a similar level on 15 August.

Piton de la Fournaise  | Reunion Island (France)
OVPF reported that the eruption at Piton de la Fournaise that began on 14 July continued through 15 August. Weather clouds often prevented visual confirmation of activity, though observers periodically noted that small amounts of material were ejected from a small vent on the N flank of the eruptive vent. Some active pahoehoe flows were visible at a distance of 2 km from the cone, though most of the flow activity was confined to lava tubes.

Sangay  | Ecuador
Based on information from the Guayaquil MWO, the Washington VAAC reported that on 12 August an emission from Sangay rose to altitudes of 6.1-6.4 km (20,000-21,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted SW and NW. Ash in the emission was not detected in satellite data. On 13 August satellite data showed a well-defined thermal anomaly over the volcano, and an ash plume drifting 55 km SW.

Sangeang Api  | Indonesia
Based on analyses of satellite imagery, the Darwin VAAC reported that on 12 August an ash plume from Sangeang Api rose to 2.7 km (9,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted NW.

Ulawun  | New Britain (Papua New Guinea)
Based on analyses of satellite imagery and wind model data, the Darwin VAAC reported that during 9-10 August ash plumes from Ulawun rose to 2.4 km (8,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted NW and W.

Information provided by Smithsonian GVP Weekly Volcanic Activity Report

August 19, 2017

IAVCEI Conference, USA (Philippa)
More images below from various different field trips which have taken place this past week as part of the IAVCEI Conference, a big gathering of volcanologists from around the world.

Columbia River Gorge

This is Latourell Falls, a waterfall within the Columbia River Gorge, which was the scene of massive flood basalt lavas from the same 'hot spot' which is now the source of Yellowstone's magma. The columnar jointing (in the image) is due to the contraction of the lava as it cooled. (see previous posts, which explain this pattern)

via Geology Tweets (@Geology Time)

Screen Shot 2017-08-18 at 09.56.12

The image (below) taken from the highway is a much bigger view of the Columbia River Flood Basalt Plain, which gives a better idea of just how big a volume of lava erupted over many, many years.

via Tanis Leonhardi (@TanisLeonhardi)

Tanis Leonhardi Columbia River Flood Basalts
Mount St Helens

ALL the volcanologists at the IAVCEI conference have been posting their photos of Mount St Helens, but below are a few from different angles.

This front view shot shows the horse shoe crater shape and hummocky (hilly) terrain caused by the 1980 lateral (sideways) eruption and debris avalanches, which occurred after a landslide.

via Anna Perttu (@InfraSaurus)

Screen Shot 2017-08-18 at 10.14.06

This one below was taken from Boundary Trail and shows the side view of the debris avalanche deposits (hummocky piles of rock) from the lateral blast of the 1980 eruption.

via Kate Dobson (@K_J_Dobson)

Screen Shot 2017-08-18 at 10.10.09

The animation below showing an aerial view of Mount St Helens has been created from what are known as LiDAR data (Light Detection and Ranging). This is a remote sensing method, which usually involves a piece of scanning equipment being mounted to the underside of a survey aircraft. The scanner uses pulsed laser light to measure the two-way time from the scanner to a point on the Earth's surface and back in order to then calculate a distance and therefore the elevation (height above sea level) of that point. By then mapping all of these points, an image such as the one below can be created.

via Julia Nasev (@jnasev) / @OpenTopography

Sheveluch and Klyuchevskoy, Kamchatka, Russia (Philippa)
Below are the latest webcam images of eruptions at Sheveluch volcano and Klyuchevskoy volcano respectively.

via the Institute of Volcanology and Seismology - Kamchatka branch



The fantastic image below, which is also of Klyuchevskoy volcano, but on another day, is via Vladimir Voychuk (@voy4uk)

Klyuchevskoy Vladimir Voychuk

August 18, 2017

Yasur volcano, Vanuatu
Benjamin Simons (@dread_rocks) : When you find yourself up close and personal with a volcanic eruption. Big lava bombs above and below you.

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Pacaya volcano, Guatemala
Strombolian activity during the night earlier today
Image via Luis Aguilar (

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Mount Saint Helens, Washington, USA
Mt St Helens looked very impressive today for the iavcei2017 mid-conference fieldtrip

via Gareth Fabbro (@Fitzgabbro)

Screen Shot 2017-08-17 at 11.49.05

August 17, 2017

various | USA (Philippa)
More social media coverage from the IAVCEI (volcanology) conference, which starts this week in Portland, Oregon, and the various pre-conference field trips:

News feature - via KATU News; Image - via Tom Casadevall / US Geological Survey

KATU News - Volcano experts to meet for summit in Portland

Mt St Helens Tom Casadevall USGS

Image from the flight into Portland - via Keri A McNamara (@KeriAMcNamara)

Flight Into Portland Keri A McNamara

Long Valley Caldera, California - images via Kevin Schrecengost (@magmachronic)

Long Valley formed around 760,000 years ago when a volcano in this area erupted so much material explosively, that the roof of the magma 'chamber' collapsed forming a caldera.

The images below show: Mammoth Mountain - a complex of around 12 domes made of dacite, a very viscous (sticky) type of lava; a hoodoo - a spire of volcanic tuff, which has been eroded down by wind or water; Hot Creek - a location of hydrothermal activity, i.e. where water is heated by the ground rock; Mammoth Rock.

Long Valley Caldera Kevin Schrecengost

Mount Hoodoo - image via Ben Edwards (@lava_ice)

Mount Hoodoo is a tuya - a volcano which has erupted under a glacier. This image shows Horn Ridge, which was a fissure eruption that occurred under ice.

Mount Hood Ben Edwards

Newberry Volcano and Crater Lake, Oregon - images via Vic Smith (@viccsmith)

Newberry Volcano and Crater Lake Vic Smith

The image (below) gives a closer view of Big Obsidian Flow at Newberry volcano. Click on the hyperlink (below) for information on how this was formed: Big Obsidian Flow - via US Geological Survey

via Shane Cronin (@scronin70)

Obsidian flow Newberry Volcano Shane Cronin

World / Space (Philippa)
In conversation - our very own Dr Janine Krippner (@janinekrippner) and planetary geologist / volcanologist Dr Rosaly Lopes (rosaly_lopes) speaking in a BBC World Service podcast. Click on the hyperlinke (below) to access. This is free, but you will need to sign in to the BBC iPlayer.

BBC World Service - In Conversation - Volcanologists

August 14, 2017

Mount Shasta, California, USA (Philippa)
The first field work photos have emerged on social media from the 4-yearly IAVCEI (volcanology) conference, which is this time taking place in the U.S. The image below is of Mount Shasta, a glacier-covered stratovolcano at the southern end of the Cascade Range. Volcanic deposits in surrounding towns are evidence that Mount Shasta has historically erupted explosively, with the last eruptions occurring around a couple of centuries ago. Fumaroles around the volcano indicate that it is still active.

The greatest hazards should Mount Shasta erupt again in the future would include eruptive ash columns, which would be a threat to aviation, and pyroclastic density currents and lahars, which would be a threat to towns around the volcano.

Image via Shane Cronin (@scronin70)

Mount Shasta 10Aug17 Shane Cronin

Crater Lake / Mount Mazama, Oregon, USA (Philippa)
Another couple of images from one of the pre-IAVCEI conference field trips, this time from Crater Lake in Oregon.

Sometime between 6000-8000 years ago a volcano by the name of Mount Mazama erupted so much material that it collapsed, forming a caldera. Younger, smaller eruptions of lava confined within the caldera formed features including Wizard Island (see the first image). Rainfall and snow melt subsequently formed a lake within the caldera, which at a maximum depth of around 594 m makes it the deepest lake in the USA.

The second image was taken at a section near the top of the caldera wall which is known as the Wine Glass Tuff. Tuff is consolidated, rapidly-deposited volcanic ash. Beneath this section there are course lumps of pumice, i.e. cooled pieces of very light, bubbly, glassy lava, which is the 'froth' erupted from the top of a magma conduit at the start of an explosive eruption. In this image of the Wine Glass Tuff (purply-grey colour) we can see fiamme (lens-shaped; lighter grey colour), which are lumps of the pumice that were squashed and stretched as they were were incorporated into fast-flowing pyroclastic density currents flowing over them.

via Alison Graettinger (@AlisonGraetting)

Crater Lake 10Aug17 AlisonGraettinger

squashed pumice Mt Mazuma 10Aug17 AlisonGraettinger

Yasur, Vanuatu (Philippa)
Yasur volcano is well-known for creating volcanic shockwaves, i.e. for expelling gas slugs ('volcano farts') faster than the speed of sound. The night-time thermal image (below) captures one such shockwave from the past 24 hours.

via Benjamin Simons (@dread_rocks)

Piton de la Fournaise, Reunion Island (Philippa)
Eruptive activity continues on Piton de la Fournaise. The lava fountaining which built up lava cones has now formed lava tunnels.

via OVPF / IPGP (@IPGP_officiel)

Piton de la Fournaise 10Aug17 OVPF IPGP

Teide volcano, Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain
Involcan fieldwork measuring CO2 levels in Las Cañadas Caldera by seeing how much dissolves into an alkaline solution
Via Abigail Metcalfe (@abigaillily14)

Screen Shot 2017-08-11 at 13.18.51

Squishy, molten layer of rock lies at the base of continents.
Via Stephen Hicks (@seismo_steve)
Read the full article here

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Volcano activity for the week of August 2 until August 8, 2017

Screen Shot 2017-08-11 at 12.48.12-compressed

Piton de la Fournaise  | Reunion Island (France)
OVPF reported that the eruption at Piton de la Fournaise that began on 14 July continued through 8 August, though tremor levels and surficial activity slowly declined. Satellite data indicated a minimum flow rate of 1-2 cubic meters per second. Some active lava flows were visible at a distance of 520 m from the cone, though most of the flow activity was confined to lava tubes. There were some breakouts from the lava tube; a substantial breakout on 5 August fed a lava flow that traveled hundreds of meters over several hours. During 7-8 August small amounts of material was ejected from a small vent on the N flank of the eruptive vent.

Sangay  | Ecuador
In a special report from 3 August, IG reported that a new eruptive phase at Sangay began on 20 July, after 8 months without major surface activity. The recent activity was characterized by low-energy ash plumes rising no more than 3 km above the crater rim, incandescent rocks rolling as far as 1 km down the ESE flank, and a possible lava flow on the same flank. Minor amounts of ash fell in uninhabited areas to the W.
Based on Washington VAAC reports, IG noted two ash plumes on 20 July and one on 2 August that rose 2.3-3 km above the crater and drifted W and NW. Numerous thermal anomalies detected during 2-3 August were aligned on the ESE flank. Based on numerical weather prediction (NWP) models, satellite data, and information from the Guayaquil Meteorological Watch Office (MWO), the Washington VAAC reported that on 6 August an ash plume drifted W.

Sangeang Api  | Indonesia
Based on analyses of satellite imagery, the Darwin VAAC reported that during 7-8 August minor emissions from Sangeang Api rose 2.4 km (8,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted WSW.

Sinabung  | Indonesia
BNPB reported intense activity at Sinabung on 2 August; between 0800 and 1200, pyroclastic flows were generated 17 times and traveled as far as 4.5 km ESE. Ash plumes rose up to 4.2 km above the crater and drifted S, causing ashfall in local areas including Perbaji (4 km SW), Sukatendel, Temberun, Perteguhen (7 km ESE), Kuta Rakyat (5 km NE), Simpang Empat (7 km SE), Tiga Pancur (6 km SSE), Selandi (5 km SSW), Payung (5 km SSW), and Kuta Gugung (5 km N). Significant ashfall was noted in Ndokum Siroga (9 km ESE), Gajah (8 km E), and Naman Teran (5 km NE). BNPB noted that there were 2,038 families (7,214 people) displaced to eight shelters, and an additional 2,863 people living in refugee camps. Based on PVMBG observations, webcam and satellite images, and wind data, the Darwin VAAC reported that during 6-7 August multiple ash plumes rose as high as 5.5 km (18,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted ENE, E, and SE. The Alert Level remained at 4 (on a scale of 1-4), with an exclusion zone of 7 km from the volcano on the SSE sector, and 6 km in the ESE sector, and 4 km in the NNE sector.

Ulawun  | New Britain (Papua New Guinea)
Based on analyses of satellite imagery and wind model data, the Darwin VAAC reported that during 4-8 August ash plumes from Ulawun rose 2.4-2.7 km (8,000-9,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted NW, W, and SW.

Information provided by Smithsonian GVP Weekly Volcanic Activity Report

August 11, 2017

Marum volcano, Ambryn, Vanuatu (Philippa)
Hands up if you want to see a bubbling lava lake! Please thank (Canadian) Weather Network for this footage from Marum volcano:

via Mark Robinson (@StormhunterTWN) / The Weather Network (@weathernetwork)

Volcanic projectiles - Worldwide (Philippa)
If, like me, you are fascinated by volcanic projectiles - molten and solid rock, which are spat out by volcanic vents during small and medium-sized eruptions - then you may be interested in this article by Jacopo Taddeucci (INGV), who is one of the leading experts in the world on this particular aspect of volcanology.

EOS - Caught on Camera: Volcanic Bombs In Flight

Jacopo explains how he and several other volcanologists have for the past few years been using high-speed, high-definition cameras in order to capture direct observations of volcanic projectiles. Using software which then tracks the image of each projectile in motion over time, they are able to investigate both the velocity (speed and direction) with which projectiles are spat out from a volcanic vent, and their trajectories (travel paths).

The observations and subsequent analysis enable volcanologists such as Jacopo to better connect geological deposits and numerical modelling of volcanic ballistics towards improving natural hazard mapping and early warning systems.

via Alison Graettinger (@AlisonGraetting) / image by Marco Albano

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Volcan de Fuego, Guatemala (Philippa)
(monitoring agency) INSIVUMEH have reported on explosive eruptions which occurred at around 21:30 (local time) last night at Volcan de Fuego. An ash column was generated up to an altitude of around 4,900 m above sea level, with the plume drifting around 15 km in a South / South Westerly direction.

via Gustavo Chigna (@gchigna) and INSIVUMEH Guatemala (@insivumehgt)

Fuego Guatemala 07Aug2017 INSIVUMEH

Nicaragua (Philippa)
The UNRESP project team, which is conducting research on persistently degassing volcanoes, has this week been looking at the effect of volcanoes on coffee plants in Nicaragua.

On the one hand, volcanic ash from previous eruptions makes soil very fertile for crops, and coffee plantations are found in many volcanic regions, such as Costa Rica and Kona on Big Island in Hawaii. However, ironically, persistent volcanic degassing inbetween major eruptions causes rain and soil to become acidic, which is detrimental to coffee and other crops.

The image below, though, is from a farm in Nicaragua, which has protected its coffee plants by growing other living shields (i.e. other plants) around them.

via UNRESP (@UNRESPproject)

Coffee plants Nicaragua UNRESP

Incidentally, if you area interested in taking part in fieldwork in Nicaragua, but on and around Masaya volcano, both from a geophysical perspective and ecological perspective, the Earthwatch Institute runs expeditions there every February and March with Professor Hazel Rymer (Open University). See the link below for further details.

Earthwatch expedition - Exploring an active volcano in Nicaragua

Mount Baker, North Cascades, Washington State, USA (Philippa)
A multitude of volcanologists from around the world are heading to Portland, Oregon and other areas of NW USA over the next 2-3 weeks for a conference and field trips, so hopefully they will also post volcano photos from the region for us to coo over.

We love that one such scientist took this shot from the air of Mount Baker in the North Cascades of Washington State. This is the second most thermally-active volcano in the region after Mount St Helens. Nevertheless, Mount Baker is not thought to be as eruptive. Although two main fumaroles (steam vents) remain active, the geological evidence indicates that the last major eruption at this volcano was over 6,000 years ago. However, because of the glaciation which occurs here, it is possible that there may have been more recent eruptions since then, i.e. before the first observations were noted in the 19th Century, but deposits may have been eroded away.

via John Cassidy (@earthquakeguy)


Webcam shots, Kamchatka, Russia (Philippa)
Below is a round up of webcam shots of eruptive activity on the Kamchatka Peninsula from the past 12 hours.

All images via the Institute of Volcanology and Seismology - Kamchatka branch







August 8, 2017

Bogoslov volcano, Aleutian Islands, Alaska, USA
Eruption report
A significant explosive eruption began at Bogoslof volcano at about 18:00 UTC (10:00 AKDT) on August 7 and is continuing. A pilot report at 18:45 UTC indicates that the ash cloud had reached 32,000 ft asl. Thus, AVO is raising the Aviation Color Code to RED and Alert level to WARNING for Bogoslof volcano.

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Lovely textured lava up close.
Credit: Museum of Volcanology, La Restinga, El Hierro, Canary Islands
Via Frances Deegan (@fmdeegan)

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August 7, 2017

Sinabung, Indonesia (Philippa)
More images (below) from the large 02 August 2017 eruptions at Sinabung volcano.

Although there were no reports of casualties, inhabitants of 10 different villages outside of the 4.4 miles exclusion zone were directly affected by ash fall that day, and there were requests for face masks and clean drinking water. The ash fall has created a natural dam in the upper part of the Labortus River.

Potential future problems following on from the eruptive activity that day could range from respiratory problems and people's roofs collapsing due to the ash fall, to the risk of lahars if the ash fall is remobilised by heavy rain and flash floods.

The first two images show both the eruptive ash plumes and the pyroclastic density currents (PDCs) that were formed as the ash and rocks fell out of the plumes. Secondary lofting is caused by the process of convection within the PDCs, which together with the energy within, can cause PDCs to flow up slopes as well as following valley channels. PDCs are hot and flow quickly. This is what makes them so lethal.

via Endro Lewa (https://www.facebook.com/endrolewa)



View from inside a car, showing some of the ash fall conditions in surrounding villages following the 02 August 2017 eruptions of Sinabung. Several communities had to be evacuated, and the exclusion zone may have to be widened.

via Sutopo Purwo Nugroho (@Sutopo_BNPB)

Sinabung 02Aug2017 Sutopo Purwo Nugroho

Nevados de Chillan, Chile (Philippa)
After several months of relative respite, Nevados de Chillan has once again been displaying Strombolian-type eruptive behaviour and low-level ash emissions. The alert level for this volcano is currently at Yellow.

via Volcanes de Chile (@volcanesdechile) and SERNAGEOMIN(@Sernageomin)


Volcan San Cristobal, Nicaragua (Philippa)
The UNRESP research team, who are investigating the air and water quality around persistently degassing volcanoes in order to improve forecasting, have recently been to visit Volcan San Cristobal. This is the highest volcano in Nicaragua and one of the youngest within its volcanic complex. It last erupted explosively in 2014, but effusive volcanic gas emissions and catastrophic landslides have been just as unsettling for residents living around the volcano.



In an aside from San Cristobal, UNRESP also posted this Tweet, which follows on nicely from a feature that we posted last week regarding building materials and resilience to volcanic ballistics and ash fall:

Webcam images - a round-up from the past 48 hours (Philippa)

Redoubt | Alaska, USA
This webcam image was lit by moonlight.
via Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) / US Geological Survey

Sinabung | Indonesia
via PVMBG - captured at 09:13 UTC today (6 August)


Klyuchevskoy | Kamchatka, Russia
via the Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, Kamchatka branch


Sheveluch | Kamchatka, Russia
The explosive eruptions created ash plumes reaching altitudes of up to 6.5 km above sea level on 04 August 2017.

via Janine Krippner (@janinekrippner) and the Institute of Volcanology and Seismology - Kamchatka branch


August 6, 2017

Sinabung volcano, Sumatra, Indonesia
At 10 AM on August 2, an impressive pyroclastic flow raged down the slopes of the volcano.

Volcano activity for the week of July 26 until August 1, 2017

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Katla  | Iceland
On 29 July the Iceland Met Office (IMO) reported that a glacial outburst flood (jökulhlaup) in the Múlakvísl river, SE of Katla, had begun, and a M 3 earthquake along with a few smaller earthquakes were located in the N part of the caldera. Nearby seismic stations detected tremor possibly linked to the flood, though a subglacial volcanic component was not ruled out. The Aviation Color Code was raised to Yellow, the second highest level on a four-color scale. The public was advised to stay away from the river; it was dark colored and had a sulfur odor. By 31 July the jökulhlaup had subsided with conductivity measurements and tremor slowly reaching normal levels. The Aviation Color Code was lowered to Green.

Moyorodake [Medvezhia]  | Iturup (Etorofu) Island (Japan/Russia)
The Institute of Volcanology and Geodynamics (Russian Academy of Natural Science) reported that during the morning of 31 July volcanologists working on Kudryavy, a stratovolcano of the Medvezhia volcanic complex, noted a sharp increase in the volume of vapor-and-gas emissions, with a plume rising more than 1 km. The emissions rose from a new crater, Malysh, that was formed after the 1999 phreatic eruption. A significant increase in temperature (an average of 100 degrees Celsius) was measured at fumarolic sites, and new high-temperature areas were noted. Crusts of native sulfur at the boundaries of high-temperature areas were melting and burning. Two people at the top of the volcano and workers at the main base camp (3.5 km S) self-evacuated.
The report noted that a M 5.7 earthquake had occurred at 0800 that same morning, 200 km NE, within the same system of tectonic faults that the volcano resides on. The volcano has a permeable system of fissures, through which there has been constant degassing for more than 130 years.

Piton de la Fournaise  | Reunion Island (France)
OVPF reported that the eruption at Piton de la Fournaise that began on 14 July continued through 1 August, though weather conditions often prevented visual observations. Tremor levels fluctuated. A few estimates based on satellite data indicated a minimum flow rate of 1-2 cubic meters per second. During the early evening on 25 July two vents in the main cone were active, and lava frequently overflowed parts of the channel. Visual observations on 30 July revealed that the lava-flow terminus remained 2.8 km from the vents.

Sangay  | Ecuador
Based on information from the Guayaquil MWO, the Washington VAAC reported that on 1 August an emission from Sangay rose to an altitude of 5.3 km (17,500 ft) a.s.l. and drifted W.

Sangeang Api  | Indonesia
Based on analyses of satellite imagery, pilot observations, and wind data, the Darwin VAAC reported that during 29-30 July ash plumes from Sangeang Api rose to altitudes of 2.4-2.7 km (8,000-9,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted NW and W.

Information provided by Smithsonian GVP Weekly Volcanic Activity Report

August 5, 2017

Sinabung volcano, Indonesia (Philippa)
Several people have posted some quite dramatic images from around Sinabung volcano in the past 24 hours.

Firstly, this video footage, which shows the ash fall from one of the eruption columns. Although the footage was shot from outside of the exclusion zone around the summit area of Sinabung, you can nevertheless see how the ash fall can be a problem for local inhabitants, both in terms of their health, and in terms of trying to keep the area clean. If ash fall is not regularly cleared from rooftops, its cummulative weight can cause building collapse.

via Tanah Karo Simalem

...and these images via Shan da Silva (@supereruption)

Sinabung 02Aug2017 Shan da Silva

Piton de la Fournaise, Reunion Island (Philippa)
The latest helicopter overflight made by scientists at (observatory) OVPF shows that the current eruptive activity at Piton de la Fournaise is starting to form lava tunnels. These are created when lava flows are active enough to form levees, which then build up and eventually cover over. The hot lava inside then becomes insulated, and so is able to flow even further from its source.

The location of the lava tunnel is indicated by the numbering in the overhead image (below).



Volcano infrasound (Philippa)
Part of my previous research was on infrasound (low frequency [<20 Hz] soundwaves) generated by volcanoes and geysers when they erupt. So I was very excited to find not one, but two articles on just this subject to share with you.

This video explains in more detail what volcano-generated infrasound is, how it is monitored by the Earth Observatory based in Singapore, and why it is such an important method of volcanic eruption monitoring, particularly in this area of South-East Asia and Alaska, which are both busy aviation routes.

via Earth Observatory of Singapore

(Video) Volcano Infrasound - Earth Observatory of Singapore

The second article on this topic is a blog entry by a member of the volcano research group from the University of Liverpool (UK), who recently conducted fieldwork at Mount Etna together with researchers from the University of Alaska Fairbanks (USA) and INGV (Italy). The three groups deployed a temporary array of infrasound sensors and seismometers in order to take acoustic measurements both above and below ground of Etna's eruptions. The data will be used to improve the accuracy of the computer models, which in turn are used for generating Volcanic Ash Advisories (VAAs) for the aviation industry.

via Oliver Lamb (@olamb245)

Postcard: Recording explosions at Mount Etna volcano

Yasur, Vanuatu (Philippa)
This fieldwork photo shows the inside structure of a lava bomb erupted from Yasur volcano. We can see both how bubbly and glassy the texture is, indicating that the hot, gassy lava cooled very quickly as it was ejected from the vent.

via Benjamin Simons (@dread_rocks)

lava bombs Yasur Vanuatu 02Aug2017 Benjamin Simons

Mt Teide, Tenerife, Canary Islands (Philippa)
More great fieldwork shots from the latest group of summer interns at INVOLCAN on the Canary Islands. This one is of Mt Teide, the highest volcanic peak on the island of Tenerife. It last erupted in 1909.

Mt Teide is the subject of much debate within the scientific community as to whether or not a future slope failure (landslide, triggering a volcanic eruption) could cause a tsunami, which would be powerful enough to travel all the way across the Atlantic from off the west coast of Africa, where the Canary Islands are located, to the east coast of the U.S. Although there is geological evidence of historic landslides at the volcano generating tsunamis, personally I think that the energy of any future tsunamis originating from there would dissipate (fizzle out) before reaching the other side of the Atlantic.

via Ross Mowbray (@EarthSci_Ross) / INVOLCAN (@involcan)

Mt Teide Tenerife 01Aug2017 Ross Mowbray INVOLCAN

Mount Ruapehu, New Zealand (Philippa)
Following on from the article that we posted on July 31, if any of you are lucky enough to visit Mount Ruapehu, which is a popular ski resort on a volcano in New Zealand, please read the article at the link (below). It  contains important information from GeoNet regarding the volcanic hazards at Crater Lake, how they are monitored, and what you should do if the warning sirens are sounded.

Mount Ruapehu - Crater Lake - advice to visitors re: the volcanic hazards

Webcams and Satellite imagery (Philippa)
Here is a round-up of the best of the webcam shots and satellite imagery from the past 24 hours:

Klyuchevskoy volcano | Kamchatka

via the Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, Kamchatka

Klyuchevskoy 03Aug2017 0110UTC IVS

Volcan Sabancaya | Peru

via OVI-INGEMMETrsz_sabancaya_02august2017_1515_ovi-ingemmet

via Dan Lindsey (@DanLindsey77) / GOES16 satellite imagery

Volcan Turrialba | Costa Rica



Pu`u O`o vent / Kilauea | Hawaii, USA

via US Geological Survey / Hawaiian Volcano Observatory


August 3, 2017

Sangay volcano, Ecuador
A rarely seen explosion of this very active volcano. While climbing it many years ago, it had a powerful explosion every 15 to 30 minutes. At that time the explosions occurred in the main crater who is still very active as can be seen on the second picture from Gabriel Diaz (https://www.facebook.com/gabrieldiazfoto/). The photo just below shows a vent at the slopes of the volcano. (Image via @80MarcoNieto and @SherineFrance)
Sangay volcano is located in the border area between the High Andes and the Selva (Amazonas forest) and is most of the time covered in clouds.
My Marco Cruz party had to walk back to the base camp because of heavy rainfall, clouds and constantly pouring ash and even lava bombs which we could hear falling. Scary and sensational at the same time. On clear days the volcano can be seen in the far distance from Riobamba or from a higher point in the area.
The more adventurous people may be joining a trekking party into the Sangay National Park.

Screen Shot 2017-08-02 at 16.38.17

Image via Marco Nieto

Screen Shot 2017-08-02 at 16.46.25

Image via Gabriel Diaz

Volcano, do it yourself animation
Build your own virtual #volcano by changing viscosity and gas and then watch it erupt!
Via @CarlSaganRox

Screen Shot 2017-08-02 at 15.55.57

August 2, 2017


Volcano news - Archive Nr. 10

Volcano news - Archive Nr. 9
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Volcano news - Archive Nr. 6

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Volcano news - Archive Nr. 4

Volcano news - Archive Nr. 3

Volcano news - Archive Nr. 2

Volcano news - Archive Nr. 1


  1. Are there any volcanic action around Mexico City?

  2. bocquez says:


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