Volcano news - Archive Nr. 11

For the latest part of this report - Click here

Soufriere Hills Volcano, Montserrat, Eastern Caribbean (Philippa)
Thoughts today are with friends in the Eastern Caribbean, who are currently sheltering from the category 5 Hurricane Maria. Friends and former colleagues of mine at Montserrat Volcano Observatory (MVO), for example, remain on duty at the moment, but have had to board up the building, restricting their view across to Soufriere Hills Volcano.

Hurricane season is a particularly problematic time for MVO, as wind creates electrical noise, which obscures the signals of interest for the seismometers that are part of the array of equipment monitoring the volcano. Furthermore, the wind can knock the directional positioning of the radio equipment needed to telemeter monitoring data back to the observatory, whilst heavy rainfall can short-circuit the solar batteries, cabling, and even the seismometers themselves, rendering them useless.

The image below, taken in July 2011, shows one of the seismometers from MVO's monitoring array, which electrically shorted after heavy rainfall got into the surrounding casing during hurricane season.

MVO Leeds seismometer 2011

Trying to do maintenance and repair work after hurricanes have passed through is also problematic for the observatory. Heavy rainfall from hurricanes often produces lahars in the Belham Valley on Montserrat or washes out part of the only road around the island, cutting off access for maintenance cars.

Image from 2011 in the Belham Valley downstream from Soufriere Hills Volcano on Montserrat. Even small lahars, such as this one, are powerful enough to push cars sideways, rendering access across the valley impossible until the lahars subside.


Helicopter access is no easier. The turbulent force of the rotary blades as the aircraft comes in to land can cause loose debris on the ground to be blown upwards, posing the risk of damage to the fusilage. Landing the helicopter to do maintenance work and scientific fieldwork even outside of hurricane season is difficult regardless due to strong cross winds, uneven and unstable terrain to land on, and overgrown vegetation in the exclusion zone around Soufriere Hills Volcano.

Thankfully the volcano is not currently on the highest level of activity alert. However, Hurricane Maria could cause breaks in the continuous monitoring that MVO does in order to detect any changes in activity relative to background levels.

via Montserrat Volcano Observatory

Screen Shot 2017-09-19 at 10.12.35

UPDATE! At the time of writing this, news came in that the island of Dominica has been devastated by Hurricane Maria, which is now on a northward track towards Montserrat.

Sinabung volcano, Indonesia (Philippa)
Explosive eruptions continue at Sinabung volcano.

The implications for society, aside from the long-term health effects from the ash fall, are that several communities are currently having to live away from their homes, which are now in the exclusion zone, whilst other communities are at risk, as there is no other suitable area for them to permanently relocate to should they need to be evacuated and the exclusion zone widened. To put this into context, Indonesia is subject to a wide range of (natural) hazards in addition to actively erupting volcanoes, including earthquakes, tsunamis, flood, forest fires, landslides, and so on.

via Sutopo Purwo Nugroho (@Sutopo_BNPB)

Screen Shot 2017-09-19 at 10.44.28

Crater Lake, Oregon, USA (Philippa)
Fieldwork image of the Mazama Ignimbrite at Crater Lake in Oregon. An ignimbrite is the rapidly deposited material from a pyroclastic density current following an explosive eruption. In this particular example the magma which erupted came from a reservoir which was compositionally zoned. The pale deposits are rhyodacitic in composition, which means that the magma that this material originated from had spent a long time underground evolving before it erupted. In comparison, the darker deposits are andesitic in composition, i.e. the magma that this material originated from had spent less time underground evolving before erupting than the rhyodacitic magma.

The zoning in these ignimbrite deposits is gradual, so the theory could be that the rhyodacitic magma had happily been chilling out underground before a new input of the younger andesitic magma at the bottom of the chamber maybe triggered an eruption, much in the same way as the eruption at Eyjafjallajokull in Iceland was triggered.

The pinnacles are thought to have been fumeroles, i.e. small vents through which the hot gases escaped as the deposits cooled and compacted.

via Dr Rebecca Williams (@Volcanologist)

Screen Shot 2017-09-19 at 10.25.43

Volcanologists: A day in the life (Philippa)
Rock-Head Sciences have featured a couple of volcanologists this past week in their 'A day in the life...' series:

Professor David Pyle (@davidmpyle)

David Pyle: A day in the geolife...

(PhD candidate) Thorbjorg Agustsdottir (@fencingtobba)

Thorbjorg Agustsdottir: A day in the geolife...

various, Kamchatka, Russia (Philippa)
A round-up of the best webcam shots from the past 24 hours.

via Institute of Volcanology and Seismology - Kamchatka branch









September 19, 2017

Hawaii, Kilauea
Current activity (great video recorded Thursday by Mick Kalber from Tropical Visions Video, Inc.)

September 14, 2017 Volcanic Rivulets from Mick Kalber on Vimeo.

Volcano activity for the week of 19-25 September 2017

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Aoba | Vanuatu
On 30 August the Vanuatu Geohazards Observatory (VGO) stated that conditions at Aoba had been changing, increasing the potential for eruptive activity. On 6 September a VGO report noted that activity continued to increase; the Alert Level was raised to 3 (on a scale of 0-4) signifying that the volcano is in a minor eruption phase. VGO reminded residents and tourists not to approach the volcano within a 3-km radius, and to stay out of areas subject to trade-wind exposure

Screen Shot 2017-09-16 at 12.10.17

Fernandina | Ecuador
IG reported that activity at Fernandina began on 4 September with the detection of hybrid earthquakes followed by long-period events, and finally the onset of tremor at 1225 which heralded the beginning of the eruption. Lava emerged from a circumferential fissure near the SSW rim of the caldera and flowed down the S and SW flanks (with no evidence of the flows reaching the sea). A gas plume with low ash content rose 4 km above the crater rim and drifted W. Flows continued to be active on 5 September but by the evening the intensity had weakened. An eruptive plume rose about 2.5 km. Activity decreased significantly by 6 September.

Nevados de Chillan | Chile
According to Oficina Nacional de Emergencia-Ministerio del Interior (ONEMI), Servicio Nacional de Geología and Minería (SERNAGEOMIN) Observatorio Volcanológico de Los Andes del Sur (OVDAS) reported that during 16-31 August phreato-magmatic explosions at Nevados de Chillán's Volcán Arrau dome complex had decreased. The Alert Level remained at Yellow, the middle level on a three-color scale, and the public was reminded not to approach the craters within a 3-km radius.

Villarrica | Chile
In a summary of August activity at Villarrica, Proyecto Observación Villarrica Internet (POVI) reported that the crater was only partially visible on nine days. On 2 September a small incandescent vent at the bottom of the crater was visible. An explosion at 0924 on 30 August ejected gas and ash that drifted E due to strong winds; observers noted ash and lapilli deposits on the snow during a field visit later that day.

Information provided by Smithsonian GVP Weekly Volcanic Activity Report

September 16, 2017

Solfatara volcano, Italy (Philippa)
Some sad news, but a reminder to all of you that when you visit volcanoes as tourists, it is vital that you remain behind any barriers and stick to designated pathways. Whether this is in Italy or Hawaii or Yellowstone or at volcanoes elsewhere in the world, these measures are put in place for your safety.

Italian couple and son die at Solfatara volcano crater

Vesuvius, Stromboli, and Vulcano, Italy + Aeolian Islands (Philippa)
Here is a fantastic story! Several years ago, glass plates featuring historic images of Italian and Aeolian Islands volcanoes erupting were found abandoned in a skip outside Royal Holloway (university). Somewhat sadly, they then ended up hidden away again in someone's garage. But now they have been rediscovered again.

via Martin Menzies


Vulcano | Aeolian Islands

This image was taken around 1890 during its last known eruption.


Stromboli | Aeolian Islands

Two images taken around 1890. The volcano continues to erupt on a daily basis today.


Vesuvius | Italy

The image below was taken in 1890 and shows active vents on the original summit area covered in snow. Eruptions in 1905/1906 subsequently blasted out this area, forming a deep crater.


This next image was taken in 1891 and shows the lava flow field with hornitos between the edifice of Vesuvius and the neighbouring Mount Somma.


The next two images show Vesuvius in 1895. Again, in the first image we see the original summit area, which was subsequently destroyed by explosive eruptions in 1905/1906. The second of the images shows elegantly-dressed people walking on the lava flows.



The final image was taken during the 1905/1906 explosively eruptive period, in which the summit area was destroyed, forming the current 250m-deep crater that can be seen today. The eruption column height was estimated to have reached altitudes of around 13 km above sea level.


Sinabung volcano, Indonesia (Philippa)
(Photographer) Endro Lewa is in a unique position in that he has captured images of Sinabung volcano throughout its current eruptive period. In the two shots below we can compare between the activity.

The first image shows Sinabung on 9th September 2013 just before its first big explosive eruption. Notice how the plume here is white, i.e. it was just steam, and there was a lava spine growing at the summit, much like someone squeezing the toothpaste out of a tube.

The second image shows Sinabung just a couple of days ago, i.e. 4 years since the start of the eruption. Notice how much darker the eruption plume is, i.e. it is much more laden with ash and larger rock particles in addition to the steam and volcanic gases.

Daily explosive eruptions from Sinabung, which result in ash column collapses and deadly pyroclastic density currents, have destroyed areas in close proximity. An exclusion zone remains in place around the volcano at present.

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



Kilauea volcano, Hawaii, USA (Philippa)
The open vent and active lava lake within Halema`uma`u Crater at the summit of Kilauea volcano continues to widen. When the summit area is within what is known as a deflation cycle, i.e. when lava from this part of the system drains further down the East Rift Zone (ERZ) towards the Pu`u O`o vent and the level of the lava lake at the summit falls slightly, the walls of the Halema`uma`u Crater become unstable and sometime collapse, producing brown plumes of disintegrated crater wall 'ash' as they do so (first image).

In the second image we can see the large spatter of a big, burst lava bubble from when the summit area was in an inflation cycle, i.e. when the lava lake levels were higher.

In the third image we can see (from bottom to top): dark covering from the high-stand of the lava lake before the levels then dropped; red, white and yellow colouration where the lava that was within Halema`uma`u Crater in the 1960s and 1970s has oxidised and altered; another darker layer from when the lava lake overflowed onto the floor of the crater in April and May 2015. This overflow can clearly be seen in the fourth image, which also features Mauna Loa (volcano) in the background (top centre of shot).

via Hawaiian Volcano Observatory / US Geological Survey




rsz_Kilauea HVO

Mount Iliamna + Augustine volcano, Alaska, USA (Philippa)
It is such a rare treat to be able to see Mount Iliamna and Augustine volcano without the usual cloud cover, that we could not resist these shots via the Alaska Volcano Observatory / US Geological Survey webcams. Mount Iliamna, a glacier-covered stratovolcano, has not had a major eruption since 1876, but does still emit vigorous plumes of steam and volcanic gases from fumeroles on its eastern flank. Meanwhile, Augustine last had a major eruption in 2006, which resulted in explosive columns of ash.

via AVO / US Geological Survey



September 14, 2017

Auckland Volcanic Field, New Zealand (Philippa)
As part of a competition - 150 Years of Discovery: Emerging Research - PhD candidate, Josh Hayes, has submitted the video (below) on his research into Disaster Risk and Resilience. The focus is on the city of Auckland, which was built on a volcanic field. From analysis of the geological evidence, there have been over 53 eruptive events over the past 200,000 years. Josh asks - what would happen were there to be an eruption there in our time?

Using Heimay (Iceland), Soufriere Hills Volcano (Montserrat), and Chaiten (Chile) as a reference, the research has modeled different eruption scenarios for the four most likely locations of a future eruption in Auckland. How would people react, and what would be required for a post-eruption clean up in an urban setting in order to put mitigating measures into place to create resilience beforehand?

We at Earthquake-Report.com feel that this is a well-made, informative, and enlightening video. If you like it, please vote for Josh in the competition at this thinkable.org website: Vote here for - A City of Volcanoes - by Josh Hayes

Kilauea volcano, Hawaii, USA (Philippa)
Great bit of volcano tourism! The shot (below) taken on a helicopter overflight yesterday shows the ocean entry of Kilauea volcano's 61g lava flow at Kamokuna and the cracked lava bench, which is likely to collapse sometime in the near-future.

via Mirelle (@alwaysmorebooks)

Kilauea 09Sept2017 Mirelle

Speaking of Kilauea, below is a lithograph, dated 1881, of the summit area. Here we can see fumeroles, much like the ones which existed in the same area just prior to the current Halema`uma`u Crater vent opening up to reveal a lava lake.

Images, such as this one, provide a useful record of a volcano's historic activity in order to better forecast its future activity.

via So French Vintage (@sofrenchvintage)

lithograph Kilauea 1881 So French Vintage

Mount Lassen | Cascade Range, California, USA (Philippa)
A great shot looking down from the top of Mount Lassen towards Lake Helen. In terms of volume, this volcano has one of the largest lava domes on Earth. Mount Lassen last erupted in 1917, and together with Mount St Helens, is one of only two volcanoes on mainland USA to have erupted in the 20th Century.

via Eric Hautala (@erichautala)


Soufriere Hills Volcano, Montserrat, Eastern Caribbean (Philippa)
The small Eastern Caribbean island of Montserrat thankfully avoided the worst of Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Jose. An upside to this is that a slight change in the tradewinds has allowed Montserrat Volcano Observatory to have a clear view of Soufriere Hills Volcano (SHV) for the first time in a while. The summit is normally shrouded in cloud.

SHV last erupted in 2010, in which dome collapse boulders, pyroclastic density currents and lahars destroyed the old airport in the area of Trants. Previous eruptions, including the biggest ones in 1997, destroyed the old capital of Plymouth and led to over 8,000 of the 12,000-strong population permanently leaving the island following evacuation. The southern half of Montserrat remains an exclusion zone.

via Montserrat Volcano Observatory (https://www.facebook.com/mvoms/)

Soufriere Hills Volcano MVO 09Sept2017

Mount Teide, Tenerife, Canary Islands (Philippa)
Did you know that (volcano) Mount Teide is being used for all kinds of scientific experiments simulating life on Mars, in particular using the landscape to test out rovers?

via Ian Tourney (@agualoon)


Tarawera volcanic complex, New Zealand (Philippa)
The image below shows a lump of red (i.e. oxidised) basaltic scoria from the 1886 AD eruption of Mount Tarawera surrounding a (pale grey) piece of re-melted rhyolite pumice from the Kaharoa eruption, which occurred around 700 years ago within the same Tarawera volcanic complex (TVC). The reason why this is significant is because it tells us that the magma within the TVC spent longer underground evolving before it was expelled during the Kaharoa eruption compared to the younger, more primitive lava that was expelled during the Mount Tarawera eruption.

The Mount Tarawera eruption was one of the largest in living history on (the North Island of) New Zealand, featuring both ash eruption columns, which collapsed creating pyroclastic density currents (PDCs), and explosive lava fountains from fissures. From historic eye witness accounts it seems that there were few precursors to the Plinian-style eruptive activity, which was triggered by phreato-magmatic processes, i.e. water coming into contact with hot, subsurface rocks, flashing to steam causing explosions and a de-pressurisation of the volcanic system.

via Shane Cronin (@scronin70)

Tarawera NZ Shane Cronin

Volcan Turrialba, Costa Rica (Philippa)
Beautiful shot (below) of Turrialba at sunrise earlier today.


Turrialba OVSICORI-UNA 2017-09-10_at_122747

September 10, 2017

Volcano activity for the week of 30 August until 5 September, 2017

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Ambrym | Vanuatu
On 30 August the Vanuatu Geohazards Observatory (VGO) reported that “drastic changes” at Ambrym prompted an increase in the Alert Level from 2 to 3 (on a scale of 0-5). Areas deemed hazardous were near and around the active vents (Benbow, Maben-Mbwelesu, Niri-Mbwelesu and Mbwelesu), and in downwind areas prone to ashfall. According to a news article, a representative of VGO indicated that the Alert Level change was based on increased seismicity detected since the beginning of August but which became more notable on 25 August. Since monitoring of the volcano started around 20 years ago, the Alert Level had never been elevated past 2.

Fernandina | Galapagos Islands | Ecuador
IG reported that increased seismicity at Fernandina was detected at around 0955 on 4 September. Based on accounts from Galapagos Park personnel and photos of the volcano, an eruption started at around 1225. The Washington VAAC reported that lava was detected in satellite images beginning at 1230; a steam-and-gas plume rose 2.4 km (8,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted almost 60 km W. At around 1428 IG noted that an eruptive plume was identified in satellite images rising 4 km above the crater and drifting NW. The VAAC reported that on 5 September a plume likely composed of sulfur dioxide and water vapor, and possibly some ash, rose to 2.4 km (8,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted SW. There are no residents on Fernandina.

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Nevados de Chillan | Chile
Based on webcam views, Volcanes de Chile reported that an eruption at Nevados de Chillán occurred around 0925 on 30 August.

Volcano index photo Sangay
Based on satellite and model data, and information from the Guayaquil MWO, the Washington VAAC reported that ash plumes from Sangay rose to altitudes of 6.1-8.5 km (20,000-28,000 ft) a.s.l. The plumes drifted NW on 2 September.

September 9, 2017

Kilauea volcano, Hawaii, USA (Philippa)
As we have said before here on Earthquake-Report.com, the lava bench at the Kamokuna where the 61g lava flow from Kilauea volcano enters the ocean is unstable, so we hope that the person who captured this amazing shot was using a telephoto lens from a distance. As can be seen, when the hot lava enters the cooler, salty ocean water, it causes littoral explosions and produces laze (hydrochloric acid steam).

via Henry Soderlund (@henrysoderlund) / Jared Goodwin

Kilauea ocean entry Jared Goodwin

Webcam images, World (Philippa)
Below are the highlights from volcano webcams in the past 24 hours.

Klyuchevskoy | Kamchatka, Russia - via IVS


Sheveluch | Kamchatka, Russia - via IVS


Avachinsky | Kamchatka, Russia - via IVS


Sinabung | Indonesia - via PVMBG

Semeru | Indonesia - via PVMBG


Copahue | Chile - via SERNAGEOMIN

September 8, 2017

Sabancaya volcano, Peru (Philippa)
The images (below) of Sabancaya volcano were taken by staff from (monitoring agency) OVI-INGEMMET as they flew overhead on the way to Arequipa. Fascinating to see the volcano from a different angle to the webcams.

via OVI-INGEMMET (@oviingemmet)

Sabancaya OVI-INGEMMET 05Sept2017

Holuhraun, Iceland (Philippa)
This week marks the 3 year anniversary of the Holuhraun fissure eruption, which was preceded by clusters of earthquake swarms before erupting as lava fountains. The lava was derived from the same sources as Bárðarbunga and Askja volcanoes. By the end of the activity more than 5 months later, over 1.6 km^3 of lava had been erupted over an area of 85 km^2. Although this is a relatively small amount of lava in a remote area, it released large amounts of sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere, which then diffused across (Icelandic capital city) Reykjavik. The possible long-term health effects are still being monitored.

via Evgenia Ilyinskaya (@EIlyinskaya) / NERC (@NERCscience)

Holuhraun Iceland 2014 NERC

Erta Ale, Ethiopia (Philippa)
Here at Earthquake-Report.com we do not condone risking your life just to get an amazing shot of an erupting volcano. In the case of Erta Ale volcano, which has a permanently erupting lava lake, it is not just the volcano itself that is a hazard, but also the scorching temperatures from the sun, vipers, long journey, and political conflict. We hope for Portuguese photographer Joel Santos though that it was worth it for these drone images.

via Craig Magee (@DrCraigMagee) / Barcroft Planet channel / YouTube

September 6, 2017

Mt Teide, Tenerife, Canary Islands (Philippa)
The images (below) of Mount Teide on Tenerife, Canary Islands, have caused a flurry of excitement among volcanologists. The images are what are known as digital elevation models (DEMs), a kind of topographic map of the Earth's surface, and were created by surveying Mount Teide with a LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) scanner mounted to the underside of aircraft. Click on the hyperlink below for an explanation of what LiDAR is and how the data are collected:

What is LiDAR? How is LiDAR data collected? (NOAA)

120 million vertices (points on the Earth's surface) were scanned over an area of 150 square km at 1 m resolution , i.e. these images would have taken a lot of computer processing power over several hours (days even?) to process and render the data in order to create such high resolution DEMs. Being able to see so much detail though of the surface of the volcano is both fascinating and useful for identifying any particular areas which could cause concern were there to be a future eruption at Mt Teide.

via Mark Walters (@MarkWalters_)

Mt Teide Tenerife ICN LiDAR

The raw data are openly available via the website for the Instituto Geografico Nacional (Spain)'s Centro de Descargas del CNIG. Select an area on the map, then download the data as LAZ files, each covering 2 x 2 km^2:

Link to the raw data: Centro de Descargas del CNIG

Vulcano, Aeolian Islands, Sicily (Philippa)
The images (below) were taken on a field trip to Vulcano, one of the Aeolian Islands, a couple of days ago. What you cannot appreciate from the photos is the sulfuric smell near the mud pools at the base!

Although Vulcano has not erupted since 1890, it is considered a high risk volcano due to the nearby location of a tourist village. Historical eyewitness accounts and geological investigations indicate that eruptions there have been highly explosive and occurred without warning, not unlike Galeras volcano in Colombia.

via Boris Behncke (@etnaboris)

Vulcano 02Sept2017 Boris Behncke

Lithium within supervolcano lakes? (Philippa)
The link below goes to an interesting article on whether the clay at the bottom of lakes within supervolcanoes could provide an alternative source of lithium, which is used in batteries, cell phones, and other modern technology.

via Euan McTurk (@106Euan) / Danielle Torrent Tucker / Stanford News

New source of energy-critical lithium found in supervolcanoes, Stanford researchers find

Mt. Paektu, DPRK (North Korea) (Philippa)
Historical material and documents regarding volcanoes are useful in research for investigating previous eruptions in order to determine what future eruptions might do. Recently, Professor David Pyle (@davidmpyle, Oxford University) came across material featuring Mt. Paektu on the border between the DPRK (North Korea) and China, including the image (below), which is from H.E.M. James 'Journey In Manchuria' (published 1888).

Mt Paektu DPRK HEM James Journey in Manchuria 1888


Auckland Volcanic Field, New Zealand (Philippa)
The image below may just look like an office full of people, but this 'press conference' was part of the recent Auckland Volcanic Field Eruption Simulation held by the University of Auckland. For all of us who work within geohazards, such exercises are vital in pulling together all of our research and monitoring in order to prepare for different disaster scenarios, not just in technical terms, but also to create awareness of what might happen, how events could affect decision making, how the media might report an eruptive event, and how people in general might react. In doing such exercises, all aspects of preparedness can then be improved, but in an effective manner.

via Hazard Hub (@HazardHubUoA)

Auckland Volcanic Field eruption simulation press conference

La Cumbre volcano, Fernandino Island, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador erupts!
Fernandina island in Galapagos erupts! Live photo from Paula Tagle
Via Pelayo Salinas (@PelayaSalinas)

Screen Shot 2017-09-04 at 22.24.01

Update : As we are following earthquakes worldwide, we witnessed a couple of days ago an earthquake in between Isla Fernandina and Isla Isabela which may have been the trigger to the present eruption. At the time we had a hard time to believe that the earthquake may had volcanic links. Further investigation will certainly find out if there is a link in between both events.

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September 5, 2017

Stromboli volcano, Aeolian Islands, Sicily (Philippa)
When we looked at the volcano webcams this evening, we were not expecting to see people! It looks though like these volcanologists have cleaned the lens on (monitoring agency) INGV's webcam for Stromboli, and not surprisingly hung around for a little while to make further observations.

* UPDATE (06 Sept 2017) * No sooner had the webcam lens been cleaned, it is now even dirtier thanks to a new covering of volcanic ash. Oh well.

via INGV - Catania

Stromboli 1 INGV 2017-09-04 at 18.39.29
Stromboli 2 INGV 2017-09-04 at 18.45.45

Best of today's other webcam shots:

Volcan Sabancaya | Peru (via OVI-INGEMMET)


*UPDATE* OVI-INGEMMET report that there are currently around 44 eruptions per day at Sabancaya, and that eruption columns are reaching altitudes of around 3,200 m above the summit area.

Volcan Turrialba | Costa Rica (Via OVSICORI-UNA)


Poas | Costa Rica (Via OVSICORI-UNA)


Raoul Island | New Zealand (Via GNS)

rsz_raoul_island_nz_gns_04_sept_1430_localRaoul Island is the most northerly of the Kermadec islands and is ~1,100 km (680 miles) to the North-North-East of New Zealand's North Island. It was formed around 2000 years ago from eruptions of dacitic lava, and is characterised by two lake-filled calderas (roofs of magma chambers which have collapsed after their contents have emptied). Its last major eruption was in 2006. Due to its remote location, Raoul Island is mostly uninhabited, other than the scientists and staff who maintain a weather and radio station.

September 4, 2017

Kilauea volcano, Hawaii, USA (Philippa)
The lava lake within Halema`uma`u Crater at the summit of Kilauea volcano is currently at a high stand, and bubbling at the surface of the lava lake was clearly visible on the webcam this morning.

via Hawaiian Volcano Observatory / US Geological Survey

Kilauea USGS 2017-09-02_at_222638

Meanwhile, this aerial shot taken during an overflight of the ocean entry of the lava flow at Kamokuna clearly shows the two main cracks that have developed parallel to the coastline within the lava delta, which continues to be unstable.

Kamokuna entry Kilauea USGS 01Sept2017

Volcan Sabancaya, Peru (Philippa)
A webcam image and its corresponding thermal webcam image (from 1 minute earlier) of one of Volcan Sabancaya's regular eruption belches. On the thermal image, the off-white, yellow, and red colours correspond with the hottest parts of the eruption plume (in decreasing temperature), and blues, purples and dark areas to the cooler parts. NOTE: I think that the two cameras have different focal lengths, as the thermal image looks more zoomed in than the regular webcam image.


Volcan Sabancaya OVI-INGEMMET_2017-09-02_at_235127Volcan Sabancaya OVI-INGEMMET thermal 2017-09-02_at_235036

Volcan Turrialba, Costa Rica (Philippa)
Clear webcam viewing conditions earlier today at Volcan Turrialba.


Turrialba OVSICORI UNA_2017-09-02_at_230452

Nevados de Chillan, Chile (Philippa)
Webcam image from today of Nevados de Chillan. It is winter time. The snow is powdery, and we hear that the skiing there is excellent. There are also thermal hot springs in which to unwind after a day of adventure on the slopes.


Nevados de Chillan SERNAGEOMIN 2017-09-02_at_222845However, appearances can deceive! On 30 August 2017 Nevados de Chillan looked like this, which caused ONEMI (Chilean Civil Defense) to issue warnings in the area.

via Volcanes de Chile (@volcanesdechile) / SERNAGEOMIN

Nevados de Chillan SERNAGEOMIN Volcanes de Chile 30Aug2017

via Gobernacion de Nuble (@GOB_NUBLE) / SERNAGEOMIN

Nevados de Chillan Gobernacion de Nuble SERNAGEOMIN 30Aug2017.jpgMaybe it is deceptive how far away the eruptive vent and plume are from the ski chalets in the foreground. However, the balance between allowing people to ski and have fun in aid of tourism versus keeping everyone safe, not just during an eruption, but potentially also post-eruption if it causes rapid snow melt and lahars, is a major concern also at several other snow-covered volcanoes around the world, including in the U.S. and New Zealand.

Volcan Copahue, Chile (Philippa)
Webcam image of an eruption today at Volcan Copahue.


Volcan Copahue SERNAGEOMIN 2017-09-02_at_222904

Klyuchevskoy and Bezymianny volcanoes, Kamchatka, Russia (Philippa)
Webcam images below of eruptions in the past 24 hours at both Klyuchevskoy and Bezymianny volcano in the Kamchatkan peninsula.

via the Institute of Volcanology and Seismology - Kamchatka branch

Klyuchevsky IVS 2017-09-02_at_222504Bezymianny IVS 2017-09-02_at_224552

September 3, 2017

Klyuchevsky volcano, Kamchatka, Russia (Philippa)
There was no indication on the original post of the date that this relates to, but a beautiful gif nevertheless featuring Klyuchevsky volcano.

via Vladimir Voychuk (@voy4uk)

Sheveluch + Mutnovsky, Kamchatka, Russia (Philippa)
The volcanoes in Kamchatka have this week mostly been shrouded in cloud, but in a rare opportunity, Sheveluch volcano revealed herself to the webcam mid-eruption earlier today. Likewise, Mutnovsky volcano with its actively steaming Crater 4.

via the Institute of Volcanology and Seismology - Kamchatka branch

Sheveluch IVS 2017-09-02_at_093849

Mutnovsky IVS 2017-09-02_at_093922

Mount Bromo, Indonesia (Philippa)
The webcam lens for Mount Bromo has finally become too dirty to see through, a common problem for volcano 'cams requiring maintenance in ashy and rainy conditions. However, for visitors willing to trek up to higher ground before sun rise, a view such as this awaits.

via Fabian Wadsworth (@FabianWadsworth) / cannon matt (instagram.com/cannonmatt)

Mt Bromo Indonesia cannonmatt

Volcanologists in the field: Pinatubo, Kanlaon, Mount St Helens | Philippines + USA (Philippa)
Some historic shots from the career archive of (Philippino volcanologist) Jaime Sincioco, including fieldwork on Mount Pinatubo and Kanlaon volcanoes in the The Philippines and Mount St Helens in the U.S.

One of the great things about working in volcanology, aside from visiting and/or working on amazing locations, is the international collaboration with scientists from all over the world. It was thanks to such collaboration during the monitoring of the 1991 eruptive crisis at Mount Pinatubo that led to timely evacuations, which prevented the loss of lives.

via Jaime S. Sincioco (@jaimessincioco)

Jaime Sincioco Pinatubo Kanlaon MSH

Timanfaya National Park, Lanzarote, Canary Islands (Philippa)
The summer internship scheme with GeoTenerife (@GeoTenerife) and (volcano monitoring agency) InVolcan (@involcan) has this week moved on to the island of Lanzarote, which I can personally attest is a wonderful place with easy access to look at relatively young (from past 200 years) volcanic features.

Here WWU student Tessa Pettyjohn (@pettyjohn_tessa) is undertaking geochemical monitoring work around Timanfaya National Park, which has over 100 volcanic peaks. The last documented eruption here was in 1824. However, the underlying rock is still hot** and the area is therefore deemed to still be volcanically active.

** If you are lucky enough to one day visit Timanfaya National Park, there is a restaurant with a geothermal vent that is still hot enough to barbecue food on.

via Sharon Backhouse (@GeoTenerife)

Tessa Pettyjohn at Timanfaya National Park Lanzarote InVolcan

Yasur, Vanuatu (Philippa)
The image below may not look like much, but thanks to the trained eyes of Ben Simons we are told that this is a: "...large, fluid lava bomb with a lovely ropey texture. Can see the folding and twisting that occurred in-flight..." as the lava was spat out of the vent at Yasur volcano. Look again, and you will see a pair of sunglasses placed on top for scale!

via Ben Simons (@dread_rocks)

twisted fluid lava bomb Yasur Ben Simons

Volcano activity for the week of 23-29 August 2017

Screen Shot 2017-09-02 at 11.28.00-compressed

Ibu | Halmahera (Indonesia)
Based on satellite images and model data, the Darwin VAAC (Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre) reported that on 24 and 28 August ash plumes from Ibu rose 1.5-1.8 km (5,000-6,000 ft.) above sea level and drifted in a westerly direction.

Geological summary (information via Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre): The truncated summit of Gunung Ibu stratovolcano along the NW coast of Halmahera Island has large nested summit craters. The inner crater, 1 km wide and 400 m deep, contained several small crater lakes through much of historical time. The outer crater, 1.2 km wide, is breached on the north side, creating a steep-walled valley. A large parasitic cone is located ENE of the summit. A smaller one to the WSW has fed a lava flow down the west flank. A group of maars is located below the northerly and westerly flanks. Only a few eruptions have been recorded in historical time, the first a small, explosive eruption from the summit crater in 1911. An eruption producing a lava dome that eventually covered much of the floor of the inner summit crater began in December 1998.

Pacaya | Guatemala
(Monitoring agency) INSIVUMEH) reported that during 21-28 August Strombolian explosions at Pacaya's Mackenney cone ejected material as high as 75 m above the crater rim, and during 27-28 August as far as 100 m onto the western flank. Cloud cover sometimes prevented visual observations; explosions could be heard within a 5-km radius.

Geological summary (information via INSIVUMEH): Eruptions from Pacaya, one of Guatemala's most active volcanoes, are frequently visible from Guatemala City, the nation's capital. This complex basaltic volcano was constructed just outside the southern topographic rim of the 14 x 16 km Pleistocene Amatitlan caldera. A cluster of dacitic lava domes occupies the southern caldera floor. The post-caldera Pacaya massif includes the ancestral Pacaya Viejo and Cerro Grande stratovolcanoes and the currently active Mackenney stratovolcano. Collapse of Pacaya Viejo between 600 and 1500 years ago produced debris-avalanche deposits that extend 25 km onto the Pacific coastal plain and left an arcuate somma rim inside which the modern Pacaya volcano (Mackenney cone) grew. A subsidiary crater, Cerro Chino, was constructed on the north west somma rim and was last active in the 19th century. During the past several decades, activity has consisted of frequent strombolian eruptions with intermittent lava flow extrusion that has partially filled in the caldera moat and armored the flanks of Mackenney cone, punctuated by occasional larger explosive eruptions that partially destroy the summit of the growing young stratovolcano.

Sangay | Ecuador
Based on satellite data, the Washington VAAC (Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre) reported that a plume from Sangay with possible ash content rose 7 km (23,000 ft) above sea level and drifted over 30 km in a south westerly direction. A thermal anomaly was identified on 23 August.

Geological summary (via Washington VAAC): The isolated Sangay volcano, located east of the Andean crest, is the southernmost of Ecuador's volcanoe, and its most active. The dominantly andesitic volcano has been in frequent eruption for the past several centuries. The steep-sided, 5230-m-high glacier-covered volcano grew within horseshoe-shaped calderas of two previous edifices, which were destroyed by collapse to the east, producing large debris avalanches that reached the Amazonian lowlands. The modern edifice dates back to at least 14,000 years ago. It towers above the tropical jungle on the east side; on the other sides flat plains of ash have been sculpted by heavy rains into steep-walled canyons up to 600 m deep. The earliest report of a historical eruption was in 1628. More or less continuous eruptions were reported from 1728 until 1916, and again from 1934 to the present. The almost constant activity has caused frequent changes to the morphology of the summit crater complex.

September 2, 2017

Yellowstone, Wyoming, USA (Philippa)
Whilst searching for all things volcano-related to report back to you on, nothing riles me more than the constant scaremongering over Yellowstone volcano. It is why you will not see me post very often about this particular volcano, other than an occasional feature on the geysers**. No, Yellowstone is NOT going to erupt any time soon, and no NASA is NOT going to drill*** into Yellowstone to prevent a future eruption.

Volcanologist - Eric Klemetti - debunks these myths here:

Discover: No, NASA isn't going to drill to stop Yellowstone from erupting

Image via Yellowstone National Park Services (@YellowstoneNPS)

Grand Prismatic Yellowstone NPS

** Three of Yellowstone's geysers were the foci of my research for a couple of years: Great Fountain Geyser, Sawmill Geyser, and Lone Star Geyser. Sadly, Sawmill Geyser has this year stopped erupting, which could be for any number of reasons, as geysers are very sensitive to any change in either their structure, e.g. due to Earth tremors, their water supply, their heat supply, or their interaction with neighbouring geysers.

*** There was talk earlier this year of a prospective geothermal company looking into hydro-thermal energy production near to Yellowstone, which would involve drilling a well to a shallow depth (10s of metres) into the bedrock if it were to go ahead. However, there first has to be a long period of public consultation, and from an ecological perspective, it would be unlikely to go ahead.

Mount Etna, Sicily (Philippa)
The image below was captured yesterday, and shows the predominantly water vapor plume erupting at the Voragine and SE Craters.

via Boris Behncke (@etnaboris)

Etna Sicily Boris Behncke 31Aug2017

Mount St Helens, USA (Philippa)
At the same time as the IAVCEI (volcanology) conference in the North West of the USA, researchers from six different institutions were involved in deploying a temporary array (group) of 140 seismometers** around four key areas of Mount St Helens: on the 2004-2008 eruption lava dome, on the 1980-1986 lava dome, in the 1980 eruption crater, and around the volcanic cone. The seismometers are self-contained and can store up to a month's worth of data.

** Sensors which detect low frequency sounds generated within the Earth or on the surface, e.g. Earthquakes. Think of arrays of seismic sensors as being like a stethoscope that can listen to the heartbeat of a volcano.

The overriding aim of this particular project is to better understand the volcanic processes occurring within the shallow subsurface of Mount St Helens.

There is a need to better distinguish between the seismic signals generated by surface phenomena, such as rock falls, compared to the small sub-surface volcano tectonic (VT) earthquakes generated as ascending magma breaks through the surrounding bedrock. Once the data from the temporary seismic array have been collected at the end of this month and processed, they will be used for comparison with the signals recorded by the USGS's Cascades Volcano Observatory's permanent network of seismic sensors.

Here is a simpler analogy: imagine that you record the sound of someone banging two rocks together. Now record the sound of a rock being split apart. If you then used some kind of music processing software to 'visualise' the two sounds on a screen, you would see that the signals for both look very similar. Now imagine that you cannot see the rock banging / splitting actions as they occur, only the signals generated. Imagine also that something else changes: maybe bigger rocks banged together, or a rock being split in a different way, or the action taking place further or nearer to the microphone. How would you determine which signal belongs to which action? You would need to look at a lot of signals in order to learn, and then with experience you would be able to distinguish between signals to identify the action.

Seismic processing at a volcano observatory is actually a lot more complicated than this, because there are lots of different phenomena that generate seismic signals both under ground and on the land surface, on different size scales, e.g. small rock falls up to large regional Earthquakes, and at different depths. If a seismometer within an array (group) gets knocked out by eruptive activity, or noise, ranging from water getting into the equipment to mountain goats chewing through cables, this makes data collection and processing even more complicated. It takes a combination of experienced, highly-skilled seismologists (people) and automated, machine-learning systems to identify and interpret the relevant signals.

via US Geological Survey

Seismologists deploy largest number of seismometers ever at Mount St Helens

Mount St Helens temporary seismic network deployment August 2017 USGS

White Island, New Zealand (Philippa)
Poor weather conditions and (in the case of Stromboli volcano) volcanic ash on the lenses of webcams are hampering our efforts to bring you images of the more photogenic volcanoes today. So instead, here is one of White Island, or Te Puia o Whakaari to give it its Maori name, which is one of New Zealand's most active volcanoes.

This is actually just the emergent crater of a much bigger, 150,000 year old volcanic structure beneath the sea off the coast of North Island, New Zealand, much in the same way as we see more recent emergent craters at Bogoslof in Alaska and El Hierro in the Canary Islands.

White Island was once mined for sulphur, but due to eruptive activity and post-eruptive lahars is now no longer populated other than by birds.

via GNS

White Island NZ 01Sept2017 0820local GNS

September 1, 2017

Masaya, Nicaragua (Philippa)
There is a buzz on the internet at the moment about the A Digital Volcano educational and interactive website. Produced collaboratively between GE, Gin Lane, Dan Kenger, Daniel Batten, and Neil Mullins, the site allegedly** provides "...an immersive online volcanic expedition..." created at Masaya volcano.

A Digital Volcano

via CSS Winner (@csswinner)

A Digital Volcano

** I say 'allegedly' as unfortunately the website does not work on our browser. If you are able to access the site via the hyperlink above, tell us what you think of it.

The content was created during an expedition last year to Masaya volcano, which also involved volcanologists / scientists and technologists. Ziplines were rigged over the active lava lake in order to deploy wireless solar-powered sensors, which are capable of relaying real-time data via the internet.

Samples of lava for analysis were also collected using a special 'gun' device.

Initial data have already been used to create a digital elevation map of the vent area, which can now be used for tracking any future changes in its shape due to eruptive activity.

The real-time data are available to anyone with access to Predix, i.e. a cloud-based software platform developed by GE as part of the Industrial Internet Of Things.

The overriding aim is to better understand Masaya's eruptive activity in order to develop and install a relevant early warning system.

Volcan Fuego, Guatemala (Philippa)
Choice of music notwithstanding (as someone who once worked for a record company a long, long time ago, we hope that they have copyright cleared this track!), some sped-up time lapse footage of last week's eruptive activity at Volcan Fuego.

Although the film maker has gone for aesthetics over science, for me as a volcanologist this footage is fascinating, because the different colours of the eruptive plume tell us something about the different processes occurring: white plume for pure steam-driven (phreatic) eruptive phases; brown plume as the conduit wall is being eroded by the activity; grey plume indicating a more ash-rich phase as newer lava is being fragmented by the energy of the eruption.

via Broken Compass / YouTube

webcast - presentation by a volcano explorer (Philippa)
Make a note of this in your diary: 28 September 2017 - Canadian tv presenter and explorer George Kourounis will be doing a live webcast presentation. George has recently been filming on Yasur volcano in Vanuatu, so we hope that he will explain a little more about this. NOTE: The link says that the webcast will be at 4:00 p.m., but does not state which time zone, so if any of you know, please tell us.

via Exploring By The Seat of Your Pants / YouTube

Live webcast with George Kourounis - 28 September 2017 - 4:00 p.m.

August 31, 2017

Images from the International Space Station (Philippa)
We love it when the astronauts and cosmonauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) take images of the Earth as they pass overhead.

via Sergey Ryazansky (@SergeyISS) / Roskosmos (@roskosmos)

Klyuchevskoy | Kamchatka, Russia - taken on 28 August 2017

Klyuchevsky SergeyISS 2017-08-28

San Cristobal | Nicaragua - taken on 20 August 2017

San Cristobal Nicaragua SergeyISS 20Aug2017

Mt. Killimanjaro | Tanzania - taken 15 August 2017

Mt Killimanjaro Tanzania 15Aug2017 SergeyISS

Poas and Turrialba, Costa Rica (Philippa)
Webcam images from sunrise today at Poas and Turrialba. The latter does not look to have been degassing as much as previously. *UPDATE (2 September 2017): OVSICORI-UNA have reported that
recent webcam images have revealed a newly-opened vent within the crater region at Poas.*


Poas OVSICORI-UNA 2017-08-30_at_122027

Turrialba OVSICORI-UNA 2017-08-30_at_122045

August 30, 2017

Gorely, Mutnovsky, Pavlof - Kamchatka, Russia (Philippa)
As promised, images from some of the other volcanoes in Kamchatka. These ones were taken during the 2015, 2016, and 2017 International Volcanology Summer School in association with the University of Alaska Fairbanks and the Institute of Volcanology and Seismology - Kamchatka. UAF also runs a summer school to Katmai volcano in Alaska.

The first image (below), a sketch by course leader Pavel Izbekov, demonstrates how the prolific volcanism which has formed the Kamchatkan penninsula and the Aleutian Islands is due to subduction of the Pacific plate (the crust and upper mantle) under the Eurasian plate at what is known as a convergent plate boundary. This is the north-north-westerly part of the so-called Pacific 'Ring of Fire'.

The Pacific plate is pulled down into the Earth together with sea water. As pressure increases with increasing depth, both the sea water and the water within the minerals in the surface of the subducting plate are released. This lowers the melting temperature of the mantle material directly above the subducting plate, hence generating magma, which then rises and erupts.

(Image via Philippa Demonte)

volcanism in Kamchatka explanation by Pavel Izbekov

The next image shows Pavlof volcano (foreground) and Pavlof's Sister (background). These are within the Aleutian Islands, i.e. part of Alaska, USA, which are just east of the Kamchatka penninsula.

via Pavel Izbekov


The next two images are from the summit area of Gorely volcano. The photos do not do it justice. Although it is a 32 km (20 mile) hike from the base camp, the views are stunning!

via Pavel Izbekov and Elya Latypova



The next two images are from Mutnovsky volcano, which has at least 4 identifiable craters from previous eruptions. The last reported eruption was in 2000.

The first image shows Crater 3. The temperatures of the fumeroles (steam vents) in the valley in the foreground of the image are around 100-120 degrees Celcius, as measured using an electronic probe during the 2015 field school.

The second image shows a pit which was dug somewhere on the flanks during the 2017 summer school. Here we can see ash layers from different explosive eruptions at Mutnovsky volcano. Plant roots and other organic matter entrained within the ash can be used to carbon date the different layers and therefore when the eruptions occurred.

At a location between the volcano and the base camp there are thick, highly-disorganised deposits that are evidence of pyroclastic density currents from highly explosive eruptions.

Other areas of the flanks have alternating layers of (mildly explosive) cinder, formed by lava fountaining, and effusively erupted lava flows.

Around Crater 1 and Crater 2 there are dikes, i.e. magma which cut vertically through the bed rock before erupting.

On the lower flanks below Crater 4 there are monogentic parasitic cinder cones, i.e. locations where lava fountaining only occurred once, similar to the cones which have recently formed on Piton de la Fournaise on Reunion Island.

All of these are geological evidence that Mutnovsky volcano has erupted with different energy levels at different times, depending on the interaction between new upwellings of magma** and also with snow melt.

** There is unresolved debate in this area as to whether the process is magma mingling or magma mixing.

via Philippa Demonte and Pavel Izbekov


Mutnovsky1 pit digging Pavel Izbekov Kamchatka 2016

Both Mutnovsky and Gorely volcanoes are fascinating to explore. Click on the hyperlink (below) for details of the International Volcano Summer School, which are usually announced around January or February each year: International Volcano Summer School

Bogoslof volcano, Alaska, USA (Philippa)
The Alaska Volcano Observatory / US Geological Survey report that a short-lived eruption of around 2 minutes occurred today at 00:31 UTC at Bogoslof volcano. Analysis of satellite imagery has determined that there was an eruption plume up to an altitude of around 26,000 ft (~8 km) above sea level, which drifted in a south-easterly direction. No seismicity, infrasound, or lightning has been detected since the event by instrumentation on neighbouring islands.

August 28, 2017

Pacaya, Guatemala (Philippa)
This fantastic image is of Pacaya volcano in Guatemala.

via Claudia Tavani

Pacaya Guatemala Claudia Tavani

See this link (below) for Claudia's experience of hiking up Pacaya, but be aware that there now may be restrictions on certain routes and how far up hikers are currently allowed to go due to the Strombolian-style eruptions this week.

What to expect when hiking Volcano Pacaya, in Guatemala

Lahars and pyroclastic density currents (PDCs), World (Philippa)
Here's a nice little resource for education and outreach activities: videos in English, Spanish and French on lahars and pyroclastic density currents.

Via David Pyle (@davidmpyle) / VolFilm / Vimeo

VolFilm on Vimeo - videos in English, French and Spanish on lahars and pyroclastic density currents

Sinabung, Indonesia (Philippa)
Image (below) from one of the latest eruptions at Sinabung volcano in Indonesia, caused by collapse of the lava dome.

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


Vesuvius, Italy (Philippa)
This week is the anniversary of the plinian eruption of Mount Vesuvius, which started on 25 August 75 A.D. and infamously destroyed the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum.

Flavio Dobran and Annamaria Imperatrice have produced this poster. Although slightly controversial (geologists and geophysicists as beneficiaries? I think not!), it nevertheless raises some interesting points about the pros and cons of the current cohabitation with Mount Vesuvius, and considerations and consequences should the Bay of Naples and the surrounding area need to be evacuated due to a future eruption of the volcano.

via Flavio Dobran, GVES, Naples, Italy

Vesuvius - Escaping from or cohabiting with the volcano?

Screen Shot 2017-08-26 at 13.03.11

The last eruption of Mount Vesuvius was in March 1944. The Castle Films newsreel footage shot at that time shows some of the consequences of even a minor eruption, including inundation by lava flows, and roof collapse caused by the weight of ash fall.

via Periscope Film / YouTube

With over 1,000,000 people now living within a 10 km radius of the volcano, i.e. a much larger population than in 1944, the biggest problems with a future eruption of Mount Vesuvius would be how to evacuate these inhabitants in a timely fashion and where could they be safely evacuated to?


Volcano activity for the week of 16-22 August 2017
Smithsonian USGS Weekly Volcanic Activity Report 16-22 August 2017

Kanlaon | The Philippines
(Monitoring agency) PHIVOLCS reported that between 24 June and 18 August the seismic network at Kanlaon detected 244 volcanic earthquakes. The report stated that the increased seismic activity could be followed by phreatic (steam driven) explosions at the summit crater, despite the absence of visible degassing or steaming from the active vent during 2017. The Alert Level was raised to 1 (on a scale of 0-5), and the public was warned to not enter the 4-km-radius Permanent Danger Zone (PDZ).

Pacaya | Guatemala
(Monitoring agency) INSIVUMEH reported that during 20-22 August, Strombolian explosions at Pacaya's MacKenney cone ejected material as high as 75 m above the crater rim and onto the flanks, generating avalanches mainly on the W flank.

San Cristobal | Nicaragua
According to a news report, at 05:18 on 18 August SINAPRED received reports of ash fall in some communities near San Cristobal, including La Grecia, and the municipalities of El Viejo (18 km WSW) and El Realejo (25 km SW). Based on analysis of satellite images and information from INETER, the Washington VAAC reported that a small ash puff from the volcano rose 300 m above the crater rim and drifted NW. Later that day a gas emission possibly containing ash rose 300 m and drifted W. An ash plume identified in satellite images extended as far as 265 km W. Seismicity was elevated. Steam-and-gas emissions continued through the rest of the day.

Sangay | Ecuador
Based on information from (monitoring agency) IG, the Guayaquil MWO, and satellite data, the Washington VAAC reported continuing ash emissions at Sangay. On 16 August an ash plume drifted W. On 17 August an ash plume rose to an altitude of 8.2 km (27,000 ft) above sea level and drifted NW, and was followed by several more ash puffs. During 19-20 August ash plumes rose to 5.8 km (19,000 ft.) above sea level and drifted SW and W. A thermal anomaly was identified in satellite images on 20 August.

Ulawun | New Britain (Papua New Guinea)
Based on analyses of satellite imagery and wind model data, the Darwin VAAC reported that during 17-18 August ash plumes from Ulawun rose to 2.7 km (9,000 ft) above sea level and drifted W.

Information provided by Smithsonian / USGS Weekly Volcanic Activity Report

August 26, 2017

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

Screen Shot 2017-08-20 at 10.20.55

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)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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

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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.

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Image via Marco Nieto

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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

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August 2, 2017