Volcano news - Archive Nr. 12

For the latest part of this report - Click here

Stromboli, Aeolian Islands, Italy (Philippa)


Stromboli volcano yesterday experienced slightly stronger explosive eruptions than normal. (Monitoring agency) INGV in Catania were initially alerted by an increase in volcanic gas levels compared to regular levels from Stromboli's daily eruptions.

Below is a sped-up gif compiled from webcam stills showing one of these stronger Strombolian eruptions.

via Geol. Sergio Almazan (@chematierra) / INGV Catania / YouTube

The image (below) - not from yesterday, but another day this year - shows some of the volcanologists and other scientists from a multidisciplinary team, who are conducting ongoing research on Stromboli volcano. The vent to the top right-hand side of shot is the one featured in the video (above).

via LMU Volcanology (@LMU_Volc) / U.Kueppers / N. Turner

Screen Shot 2017-10-24 at 11.19.48


Mt. Agung, Bali, Indonesia (Philippa)
A weak (water vapor) plume continues to be observed intermittently to a height of around 200-400m above the summit crater. As we have shown previously, these are emitting from fumaroles (steam vents) located within the east-north-east side of the crater. The volcano has not (yet) erupted, but remains at Alert Level 4 due to volcano-seismicity levels still being high compared to background levels from earlier this year, and the deformation monitoring indicating inflation (of the ground due to magma working its way nearer to the surface). The 9 km and 12 km exclusion zones remain in place.

via Sutopo Purwo Nugroho (@Sutopo_BNPB)

Screen Shot 2017-10-24 at 09.30.22

The reason why it is difficult to forecast if / when Mt. Agung might erupt, and if so, how, is because the seismic activity in particular is constantly changing. For example, last week there were higher counts of volcano-tectonic and regional tectonic events, whereas this week there have been slightly fewer volcano-tectonic events but generally more (lower amplitude) background tremor. During the last eruption of Mt. Agung in 1963 there was no geophysical monitoring equipment on the volcano, and therefore no historic seismic data to compare the current activity with.

Nevertheless, there are two types of evidence from historical eruptions at Mt. Agung which can provide insight into what the volcano might do next:

  1. Geological investigations of old lava flows, rocks, and tephra (ash fall deposits) from the 1963 eruption. Much of this has previously been conducted by (Indonesian monitoring agency) PVMBG and volcano researchers such as Karen Fontijn (@VolcKaren).
  2. Historical accounts, not only of the 1963 eruption, but historical documents relating to an eruptive period between 1710-1711.

It is both of these types of investigations that the current volcanic hazard map and exclusion zones are based on.

Relating to 1), see the image below from (independent geologist) Graeme Wheller (@VolcanoexGeo). Plagioclase, clinopyroxene, orthopyroxene, magnetite, and olivine are the crystals of minerals which Graeme identified in this rock. The mineral content informs us that this rock formed from basaltic** magma. Furthermore, the magnetite and olivine tell us that the magma originated from the Earth's mantle. The word 'phenocrysts' relates to the size of the crystals in the rock sample, i.e. some of these crystals are large enough to see without the need for a lens or magnifying glass. This informs us that prior to the 1963 eruption, the magma had time to cool slightly underground and evolve before it was erupted.

** NOTE: Whilst the 1963 lava flows at Mt. Agung are basaltic in origin, the tephra deposits from the more explosive eruptions from that period indicate that Mt. Agung is primarily formed from andesitic magma. However, it is not unusual for some volcanoes to be formed from more than one type of magma. For example, the 2010 eruption of Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland was caused by an intrusion of a fresh batch of basaltic magma into a more evolved body of andesitic magma underground, and at Mutnovsky volcano in Kamchatka, which has both effusive and explosive eruptions, there is evidence of magma mingling.

Relating to 2), at the link below is an article by historian Wayan Jarrah Sastrawan (@infiniteteeth), who gives an overview of the eyewitness accounts from Mt. Agung's previous eruptions:

Perspectives On the Past - Mount Agung's 18th-Century Eruption

What is so important about these historical eyewitness accounts is that they tell us how Mt. Agung's previous eruptions have started, and provide locations of areas on the east of the island of Bali which were affected, the same locations as those affected in the 1963 eruptions. Therefore, it is not unreasonable to suggest that the same areas of eastern Bali may be affected again by future eruptions of Mt. Agung.

Pacaya volcano, Guatemala (Philippa)
Some more historic maps, this time showing the 1775 eruption of Pacaya volcano.

via David Bressan (@David_Bressan)

Screen Shot 2017-10-24 at 11.09.46


Mt. Sinabung, Sumatra, Indonesia (Philippa)
Trying to get great shots from volcano webcams is often down to timing and luck. James Reynolds (@EarthUncutTV) managed to capture this shot of Mt. Sinabung today.

What is interesting about this particular shot is that the fall-out from the eruption plume, which then produces pyroclastic density flows (avalanches of hot volcanic gases, ash, and rocks), is in a direction towards the webcam rather than away from or to the right-hand side of shot. This could indicate that the wind is blowing in a different direction to normal.


Sinabung PVMBG 2017-10-24 at 09.16.04

Shinmoe-dake, Kirishima, Kyushu, Japan (Philippa)
Shinmoe-dake crater continues to erupt. Below is one of the latest webcam shots.

via kirishima-live.jpn.org

Kirishima from Ohnaminoike kirishima-live jpn org 2017-10-24 at 08.47.05

Tinakula volcano, Santa Cruz Islands, Solomon Islands (Philippa)
The Wellington Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC) has reported ongoing eruptions at Tinakula volcano.

Below are satellite images of the volcano taken before 9 September 2017 and after 22 October 2017. The observations made by the person who processed the satellite data is that ash fall now covers the island and there is a pyroclastic delta on the NW coast, i.e. there have been explosive eruptions at the island, and the eruption columns have collapsed producing pyroclastic density currents (avalanches of hot volcanic gases, ash, and rocks).

via Simon Carn (@simoncarn) / Planet Labs (@planetlabs)

Mt. Teide, Tenerife, Canary Islands (Philippa)
The image (below) shows a view of Mt. Teide at sunrise, and was taken by one of this month's GeoTenerife (@GeoTenerife) interns, who are conducting geochemical field work on Cumbre Vieja volcano on La Palma with InVolcan (@involcan).

via Charlotte Paisley (charlotte_geo24)

Screen Shot 2017-10-24 at 10.47.04

Tolbachik volcano, Kamchatka (Philippa)
The image (below) is not recent - it is from fieldwork conducted at Tolbachik in 2013 - but nevertheless an image that we felt you might like. It shows a volcanologist, donned in full protective clothing against the intense heat, about to launch a prototype 'lava cam' into the bocca (a vent on the side or near the base of a volcano, from which lava is emitted).

If this is the person that I think it is, he and his wife made several prototype 'lava cams' using GoPros and saucepans, many of which perished in the heat, before they were finally able to both acquire some footage from within an active lava tunnel at Tolbachik and successfully retrieve the camera! Evidence that the best kind of scientific research also requires creative as well as logical thinking!

via Ben Edwards (@lava_ice)

Screen Shot 2017-10-24 at 11.03.59

October 24, 2017

Mount Agung, Bali, Indonesia (Philippa)
Congratulations to BNPB (the Indonesian National Disaster Management Authority) on managing (finally!) to capture visual observations from directly above the crater of Mount Agung using one of their unmanned drones. Previous attempts with the six different drones they were road testing had not quite managed to reach directly over the volcano, so yesterday's re-attempt was a major achievement.

via Sutopo Purwo Nugroho (Sutopo_BNPB)

The still (below) is a higher resolution image from within the summit crater taken at a different time of day:

Screen Shot 2017-10-22 at 16.08.20
The image (below) is a still from the video, but zoomed in and rotated the right way round:

Agung 2017-10-20 at 15.29.28

This particular unmanned drone, which has to be launched from the back of a moving motorbike, is able to fly to an altitude of 4,000 m.

The fumaroles (steam vents) are located within the east-north-east side of Agung's crater wall, and the amount of vapour observed appears to vary depending on the meteorological conditions.

You may have seen other videos on social media featuring people at the summit crater of Mount Agung. We strongly DO NOT condone this behaviour, particularly as these people have reported sulfurous smells** and jetting noises at the summit.

** Depending on the volcano, sulfur dioxide exsolves from magma at depths of around 3 km to 1 km from the surface.

Inhabitants, climbers, and tourists to Bali are reminded that Mount Agung is currently at Alert Level 4 (the highest level), i.e. there is a greater probability than not that this volcano could erupt. This is based on increased levels of seismicity compared to baseline levels from earlier this year, the visual observations from the drone and satellite imagery, and inflation now detected from deformation data.

The 9 km and 12 km exclusion zones remain in place around the volcano, which is located on the eastern side of the island of Bali, i.e. not near the tourist areas, which are predominantly along the south-west coast. Tourists can check their position relative to the volcano using this app:

Screen Shot 2017-10-22 at 16.40.32

Other than avoiding these exclusion zones, it is still safe to visit Bali.

In the event of an eruption forming an ash plume and affecting the air space, the Transport Minister for Indonesia has already put mitigation plans in place for the airports, ports, and buses. The major tourism companies had a meeting on Bali a few weeks ago in order to understand the hazard map and current activity at Mount Agung. We have also seen several examples of posters (in English) created by hotels and independent guest houses to inform tourists of their location relative to the exclusion zones and what to do in the event of an eruption.

The advice from the Foreign Commonwealth Office and other national embassies regarding Bali, Indonesia is to be aware of the situation with Mount Agung, and in the event of an eruption, for tourists to call either their airline or travel agency before going to the airport.

We otherwise ask for tourists to take (surgical) face masks with them, which can be left with local residents on Bali, or better still, be distributed to the centres where evacuees from around Mount Agung are temporarily staying. This will help residents to avoid breathing in volcanic ash in the event of an explosive eruption.

Official information will be updated (in Bahasa Indonesian and English) in the 'Press Release' section of the MAGMA Indonesia website as and when there are any further developments in activity at Mount Agung.

Role of the VAACs - air traffic safety in areas of volcanic unrest (Philippa)
The article below outlines how the New Zealand Meteorological Authority's Wellington office, which also acts as the Wellington Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), is playing a vital role in working with both the Vanuatu Geo-Hazards Department, (New Zealand volcano monitoring agency) GNS, and the aviation authorities (air traffic control, the airlines, etc) in monitoring, forecasting, and tracking eruptive ash plumes from Manaro Voui volcano on the island of Ambae, Vanuatu.

via Brad Scott (@Eruptn) / yumitoktokstret.today)
YTS News: Air traffic safety - Vanuatu under NZ Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre

In total, there are 9 VAACs around the world. They were established following several instances of commercial aircraft having to make emergency landings due to sustaining damage predominantly to their engines and windshields after inadvertently flying through volcanic ash plumes. In order to avoid any further incidences, a meeting was held between experts in 1991 to determine:

  • what volcano event information the aviation industry needed
  • how this information could be distributed
  • and which agencies should distribute it

The Volcanic Ash Advisory Centres were thereafter established in association with the national meteorological agencies in these countries (see global map below).

Screen Shot 2017-10-22 at 15.01.22

Observations of volcanic eruption plumes come in to the VAACs either as a VONA (Volcano Observatory Notification for Aviation), or SIGMET (Significant Meteorological Information), or from satellite observations (e.g. using MODIS), or direct observations from aircraft pilots. VAA (Volcanic Ash Advisory) reports with VATD (Volcanic Ash Transport and Dispersion) computer-simulated forecasts are then sent out by the relevant VAAC.

For background information on the VAACs, see this article:
Boeing - Aero 09 - Volcanic Ash Avoidance: Past events, resources to avoid ash encounters, flight crew actions required in response to encounters

Fact sheet: The Volcano Disaster Assistance Program (Philippa)
The U.S. Geological Survey have just posted this information sheet (see link below) regarding the Volcano Disaster Assistance Program (VDAP). Since 1986 VDAP has been assisting volcano observatories and other organisations around the world with monitoring efforts, training and knowledge exchange programmes, eruption forecasting, and education and outreach in order to provide timely information to prevent the loss of life. During the past 31 years they have assisted observatories in 12 countries during over 70 eruptive crises, including (most famously) upfront of the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines, and are currently assisting (Indonesian volcano monitoring agency) PVMBG with efforts at Mount Agung on the island of Bali.


USGS - The Volcano Disaster Assistance Program - Helping To Save Lives Worldwide for More than 30 Years

Article: This is why it's a really terrible idea to drop bombs on lava flows (Philippa)
I bet that headline has just caught your attention! This brilliant article by Robin Andrews has just been published on Forbes website following on from an original article by (volcanology professor) Erik Klemetti (@eruptionsblog). Trying to either cause an eruption or stop an eruption by dropping bombs on an active volcano does not work. It is a total myth (except in CGI-generated movies, because Hollywood!). As I was told by several (now-retired) members of staff at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory when I was based there, when the U.S. Air Force once dropped a bomb on Kilauea volcano, the bomb just bounced and did nothing. The Hawaiians though were livid at this action!

via Forbes (@Forbes) / Jeannie Curtis (@VolcanoJeannie)

See here for the full article: This is why it's a really terrible idea to drop bombs on lava flows (Forbes)

Andean Geology, Chile / Argentina / Colombia (Philippa)
For those of you who have studied a bit of geology and are able to understand the more technical language of journal papers, SERNAGEOMIN (@sernageomin) - which monitors the many volcanoes of Chile - publishes a monthly, open access (free-to-access) periodical called Andean Geology.

Screen Shot 2017-10-22 at 13.13.19

The articles published in the edition at the link below are related to topics such as magma generation, petrology (looking at magmatic rock crystals in thin section using a microscope for clues about both its composition and cooling time before it was erupted), tephra chronology (digging pits and looking at layers of ash fall to determine when past explosive eruptions happened, their approximate volume and extent), and even an article about how theoretically a mass extinction** of plant and animal species during the end of the Permian era (geological time, ending around 251 million years ago) may have been caused by a so-called mega-eruption.

** There are two main theories about the causes of mass extinctions, including of the dinosaurs: EITHER due to so-called mega eruptions emitting really big amounts of volcanic gases over a long period of time, which would have changed the composition of the atmosphere, causing suffocation and climate change, AND/OR due to massive asteroid impacts to the Earth. For example, the eruption of the Deccan Traps flood basalts (which are about 2 km thick) in India and the formation of the Chicxulub crater from a massive asteroid impact in Mexico both coincided with a more 'recent' mass extinction of plant and animal species during the Cretaceous-Tertiary geological period (around 65 million years ago).

To read the articles in Andean Geology, see here:
Andean Geology

...and to read (in very simplified terms!) a little more about the Cretaceous-Tertiary mass extinction, see here: BBC Nature - Prehistoric Life - Cretaceous-Tertiary mass extinction

volcano images: Mexico, Ethiopia, and Indonesia (Philippa)
Below are a few of the best volcano images from the internet found in the past 48 hours:

Popocatepetl | Mexico
via Webcams de Mexico (@webcamsdemexico)

lava lake at Erta Ale | Ethiopia
via Mochila Expres (@MochilaExpres)

Erta Ale Mochila Express
Mt. Sinabung | Sumatra, Indonesia
via Endro Lewa (www.facebook.com/endrolewa)

Sinabung Endro Lewa 21Oct2017 1008local

Mt. Bromo | Java, Indonesia
via National Geographic (@NatGeo) / Reynold Riksa Dewantara

Our favourite picture from around the world this month - National Geographic

Ice volcanoes, Outer Space (Philippa)
New Scientist has recently published an article: 'Volcanoes that spew stretchy ice could make dwarf planets bright.' Whilst we at Earthquake-Report.com dislike the word 'spew' being used in association with volcanoes, and whilst the dwarf planets mentioned in this article are not the only objects in Space that 'erupt' (hello, Io, moon of Jupiter!), it nevertheless makes for an interesting read about ice volcanoes.

New Scientist (John Wenz) - Volcanoes that spew stretchy ice could make dward planets bright

via New Scientist (@newscientist) / NASA

Screen Shot 2017-10-22 at 15.56.18

October 22, 2017

volcano webcams - world (Philippa)
Below is a round-up of some of the volcano webcam images from around the world during the past 48 hours.

Iliama | Alaska, USA
via Alaska Volcano Observatory / US Geological Survey

Iliamna Alaska AVO USGS 2017-10-20 at 00.47.07

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

Avachinsky IVS 2017-10-20 at 00.44.14

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

Klyuchevskoy1 IVS 2017-10-20 at 00.45.16

Semeru | Java, Indonesia

Semeru PVMBG 2017-10-20 at 00.55.04

Mount Agung | Bali, Indonesia
via Mt. Agung live web stream

Agung 2017-10-20 at 00.56.29

White Island | New Zealand
via GNS

White Island GNS 2017-10-20 at 00.51.22

Weekly Volcanic Activity Report: 11-17 October 2017

via Smithsonian Institution - Global Volcanism Program / US Geological Survey

Screen Shot 2017-10-20 at 10.18.26

Agung | Bali (Indonesia)
(Monitoring agency) PVMBG reported that although foggy conditions at Agung sometimes prevented visual observations, during 11-17 October dense white plumes were seen rising 200m above the crater rim. On 14 October (Indonesian Civil Defense) BNPB stated that seismicity remained high; PVMBG noted that seismicity was dominated by shallow volcanic events, and the number of volcanic earthquakes remained steady. The govenor of Bali extended the state of emergency to 26 October, noting that the Alert Level remained at 4 (the highest level on a scale of 1-4). The number of evacuees was 139,199 (spread out in 389 shelters).

Ambrym | Vanuatu
The Vanuatu Geohazards Observatory (VGO) reported that aerial observations of Ambrym on 24 and 30 September, and 1 and 6 October, and the analysis of seismic data, confirmed that minor eruptive activity within the caldera was characterized by hot volcanic gas and steam emissions. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a scale of 0-5). Areas deemed hazardous were within a 2-km radius from Benbow Crater and a 3-km radius from Marum Crater.

Aoba | Vanuatu
Based on analyses of satellite, video, and model data, the Wellington VAAC (Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre) reported that during 13-14 October ash plumes from Aoba rose 2.1-4.6 km (7,000-15,000 ft) above sea level and drifted NW, N, and NE through a short-lived event generated ash plumes that rose as high as 9.1 km (30,000 ft.) above sea level.

Kirishima | Kyushu (Japan)
(Monitoring agency) JMA reported that an eruption at Shinmoedake (Shinmoe peak), a stratovolcano of the Kirishimayama volcano group, began at 05:34 on 11 October, prompting the agency to raise the Alert Level to 3 (on a scale of 1-5). Ash plumes rose 300 m above the crater rim (2 km above sea level) and drifted NE, though some news sources stated that plumes rose 2 km above the crater rim. Volcanic-tremor amplitude increased and inflation was detected. Ash fall was noted in at least four towns in the Miyazaki and Kagoshima prefectures. On 12 October ash plumes rose as high as 2 km. Based on JMA notices, pilot observations, and satellite data, the Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC) reported that ash plumes rose 1.8-2.1 km (6,000-7,000 ft.) above sea level on 11 October and 3.4 km (11,000 ft.) above sea level on 12 October.

Gas measurements taken during field surveys on 12 and 13 October showed that the sulfur dioxide flux was 1,400 tons/day, an increase from 800 tons/day measured on 11 October. Volcanic tremor fluctuated but the amplitude was slightly lower. During 08:23-14:20 on 14 October an event produced a tall plume which rose 2.3 km above the crater rim. Another event, at 15:05, generated a grayish-white plume that rose 1 km and then blended into the weather clouds. Ashfall was reported in Kirishima and Sono in the Kagoshima prefecture, and from Kobayashi in the Miyazaki prefecture to Hyuga city. An event was detected at 13:00 on 15 October, and an increase in low-frequency earthquakes was recorded on 16 October.

Lewotolo | Lombien Island (Indonesia)
(Monitoring agency) PVMBG reported that white plumes rose as high as 50 m above Lewotolo's summit crater rim. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4).

Sarychev Peak | Matua Island (Russia)
A NOAA/NESDIS scientist noted that a thermal anomaly at Sarychev Peak was identified in satellite images on 12 October. Robus thermal anomalies were identified on 14 October, and were accompanied by a plume of unknown composition. Thermal anomalies were also recorded by the MODVOLC and MIROVA thermal detection systems.

October 20, 2017

article: How volcanic ash is different from ash from a fire (Philippa)

Link: How volcanic ash is different from ash from a fire (USGS)

Click on the link (above) for an interesting article by US Geological Survey - Volcanoes on how volcanic ash is different from ash from a fire. This might be of particular interest to those of you in Europe, western USA, and Chile, which have experienced both fall-out from volcanic ash plumes in the recent past and ash plumes from forest fires.

The article explains that although the ash from both types of events may look similar, with both resulting from processes involving heat, and with both causing respiratory problems, that is where the similarities end.

The article includes links at the end to the US Geological Survey Volcanic Ash Impacts Working Group and to a separate article from NASA on how pyrocumulus clouds associated with fires are formed.

via USGS Volcanoes
(@USGSVolcanoes + https://www.facebook.com/USGSVolcanoes/)

Screen Shot 2017-10-19 at 10.32.30

Mount Sinabung, Sumatra, Indonesia (Philippa)
Mount Sinabung on the Indonesian island of Sumatra continues to have cycles of lava dome growth, collapse, and explosive eruptions. The images below were taken today (19 October 2017) and yesterday respectively.

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

Sinabung Endro Lewa 19Oct17

Sinabung Endro Lewa 18Oct2017 1902local

Webcams, World (Philippa)
Here is a round-up of some of the best volcano webcam images from the past 48 hours:

Sabancaya | Peru
via OVI-INGEMMET (@oviingemmet)

Sabancaya OVI-INGEMMET 18Oct17 174942

Sheveluch | Kamchatka, Russia

via the Institute of Volcanology & Seismology, Kamchatka

Sheveluch IVS 2017-10-17 at 23.14.47

Ebeko | Kamchatka, Russia
via Kirill Bakanov (@WeatherSarov) / (@sakhalin_info)

Ebeko 18Oct17 sakhalin_info

Te Maari Crater, Tongariro | New Zealand
via GNS (@gnsscience)

Te Maari Crater Tongariro GNS 2017-10-17 at 23.17.52

Redoubt | Alaska, USA
via US Geological Survey

Redoubt USGS 2017-10-17 at 23.16.00

October 19, 2017

Maelifell, Iceland (Philippa)
This gorgeous image shows Maelifell, a dormant (?) volcano on Iceland, which was formed around 10,000 years ago as the Myrdalsjokull glacier receded. As it sits in glacial flood plains, this is not the easiest volcano to visit should you be lucky enough to go to Iceland, and is only feasibly accessible by 4-wheel drive vehicles between July and early October. Maelifell's green colour comes from the moss which covers it.

via NHM Images (@NHM_Images) / Hans Strand

Screen Shot 2017-10-17 at 10.54.35

Shinmoe-dake crater, Mount Kirishima, Kyushu, Japan (Philippa)
Volcano-seismic activity has increased in the past 24 hours at Shinmoe-dake crater on Mount Kirishima, and the exclusion zone has been extended from 2 km to 3 km around the summit area.

The volcano has been shrouded in cloud for the past 24 hours. The image below was taken on 12 October 2017.

via James Reynolds (@EarthUncutTV)

Screen Shot 2017-10-17 at 11.11.20

Mount Agung, Bali, Indonesia (Philippa)
Mount Agung still has not (yet) erupted. However, levels of seismicity remain high compared to background levels from earlier this year, and a gentle (water vapor) plume emitting from fumaroles can occasionally be seen above the summit of the crater.

Seismic swarms observed on the seismogram on Friday and Saturday are since believed to have been connected to regular (non-volcanic) tectonic events.

No further press releases have been issued via the MAGMA Indonesia website since last week.

via Oystein L. Andersen (@OysteinLAnderse) / Hakon Gustavsen

Mt Agung 16Oct2017 Hakon Gustavson

webcams, world (Philippa)
Below is a round-up of some of best webcam shots and volcano photos from the past 48 hours:

Popocatepetl | Mexico

via Volcan Popocatepetl (@Popocatepetl_MX) / www.webcamsdemexico

Screen Shot 2017-10-17 at 11.03.15

Mount St Helens | USA

via US Geological Survey

Mt St Helens 2017-10-17 at 00.09.48

Avachinsky | Kamchatka, Russia

via the Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, Kamchatka branch

Avachinsky2 2017-10-16 at 23.49.24

Dieng | Java, Indonesia


Dieng PVMBG 2017-10-16 at 23.52.52

Pu`u O`o, Kilauea volcano | Hawaii, USA

via Hawaiian Volcano Observatory / US Geological Survey

Puu Oo HVO USGS 2017-10-16 at 23.45.05

Nevados de Chillan | Chile


Nevados de Chillan SERNAGEOMIN 2017-10-16 at 23.55.31

October 17, 2017

Cumbre Viejo, La Palma, Canary Islands

Elevated seismicity during the last days below the island of La Palma at an average depth of 20 km, still very deep

Screen Shot 2017-10-16 at 17.31.40

Screen Shot 2017-10-16 at 17.32.47

October 16, 2017

Shinmoe-dake crater, Mount Kirishima, Kyushu, Japan (Philippa)
Shinmoe-dake crater today looked like this:

via Fumihiko Ikegami (@fikgm)

Screen Shot 2017-10-13 at 12.20.04

....but yesterday looked like this:

via James Reynolds (@EarthUncutTV)

Screen Shot 2017-10-13 at 12.22.00

Here is James Reynolds with one of his drone-mounted cameras and Shinmoe-dake crater erupting in the background. Good to see that he was wearing a hard hat in case the wind shifted direction and the plume fall-out dropped rocks as well as ash. However, despite being outside of the volcano's exclusion zone, James forgot to take a face mask to prevent breathing in volcanic ash and gases, and later had to improvise with a scarf.

Screen Shot 2017-10-13 at 12.23.37

Great observations made by James of the roaring noise of the Shinmoe-dake eruption in this video:

Sheveluch volcano, Kamchatka, Russia (Philippa)
The image below, taken on one of the webcams a couple of days ago, shows an impressive explosive eruption column of volcanic gases, ash, and hot rocks at Sheveluch volcano in Kamchatka. The eruption column was reported to have reached an altitude of 10 km.

via Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, Kamchatka Branch (KVERT)

Screen Shot 2017-10-13 at 12.03.21

Turrialba volcano, Costa Rica (Philippa)
The footage (below) was shot at Turrialba volcano at dawn using a drone. As reported by Earthquake-Report.com last week, the plume at this volcano has recently become more ash rich, which could be due to erosion of the conduit (main vent) walls rather than fracturing of new lava.

via Oliver Lamb (@olamb245) / The Waterfall Trail / Vimeo

Nevados de Chillan, Chile (Philippa)
Explosive eruptions from the past 2 days at Nevados de Chillan.

via Volcanes de Chile (@volcanesdechile) / SERNAGEOMIN

Screen Shot 2017-10-13 at 11.06.53Screen Shot 2017-10-13 at 11.06.02


Mount Yasur, Tanna Island, Vanuatu (Philippa)
Hands up if you would like to see a Strombolian-style eruption with red-hot ballistics (lava bombs). Again, your wish is our command. This video from Mount Yasur's south crater:

via Benjamin Simons (@dread_rocks)


Mount Agung, Bali, Indonesia (Philippa)
Mount Agung has still not (yet) erupted. However, volcano seismic levels remain high compared to background levels from earlier this year, and three signals related to LP (long period) events have been observed on the seismogram in the past 48 hours. LPs are generated by the resonance of volcanic gases (including water vapour) in cracks and conduits, and if correctly identified, would indicate that magma is starting to reach shallower depths beneath the volcano (1km or less).

A regional (non-volcano-related) tectonic earthquake was also observed via both the seismometer on the MAGMA Indonesia website and other seismometers in the global network yesterday, which relates to thrust faulting on the subduction zone to the south of all the Indonesian islands. It is unlikely that this event will trigger an eruption of Mount Agung. Any eruptions at other volcanoes that have occurred following a tectonic earthquake at a subduction zone have been coincidental rather than because of an earthquake. There are many examples where 'primed' volcanoes have not erupted following a tectonic earthquake.

Live seismogram - via MAGMA Indonesia / PVMBG:


With regards to visual observations of Mount Agung, steam (water vapour, which is one of the volcanic gases) has been seen intermittently above the crater summit area. Both satellite imagery and videos of shamen (priests), the latter of which we do not condone, indicate that there are fumeroles (steam vents) within the crater. There is a live webcam with which to observe the volcano during daytime, if it is not obscured by cloud:

via Telkomsel Balinusra / YouTube

(Indonesian Civil Defense) BNPB are currently trialing 5 different types of drone in order to assist (monitoring agency) PVMBG with making visual observations of the summit crater in a safe manner and more frequently than satellite overpasses.

via Sutopo Purwo Nugroho (@Sutopo_BNPB)

Screen Shot 2017-10-13 at 10.42.31

The exclusion zones of 9 km and 12 km remain in place around Mount Agung, and the islanders of Bali are continuing their preparedness efforts upfront of any potential eruption, for example:

  • outreach work and education with people currently at evacuation centres
  • outreach work and education by BNPB with local government officials
  • and posters being created (in English) by hotels and guest houses to inform tourists that visits to Bali are safe, but just to be aware of the current situation with the volcano, location of the exclusion zones, what to do in case of an eruption, and what the contingency plans are regarding flights / airports in case of an ash plume being generated by an eruption.

via Sutopo Purwo Nugroho (@Sutopo_BNPB)

Screen Shot 2017-10-13 at 09.50.06


Kilauea, Hawaii, USA (Philippa)
Who here would like to see some red hot lava? Your wish is our command. Fresh from the slopes of Kilauea volcano...

via Hawaiian Volcano Observatory / US Geological Survey


Incidentally, here is a really informative video about Kilauea volcano, together with commentary from staff at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory and National Park Service rangers. The video includes footage and images from when the Halema`uma`u Crater vent first opened up as a series of fumaroles (steam vents) in March 2008, which is when I was volunteering at the volcano observatory.

via USGS Volcanoes (@USGSVolcanoes) / YouTube

Madeira (Philippa)
Are there any volcanologists on here, specifically with a background in geomorphology, who would like to help explain the image below? Taken somewhere on the (Mediterranean island of) Madeira, this shows how some volcanic (and sedimentary?) rocks were altered by different activity over time, including folding / mixing, and cross-cutting features.

via Darcy Shapiro (@darcy_shapiro)

Screen Shot 2017-10-13 at 11.25.59

Devils Tower, Wyoming, USA (Philippa)
Speaking of geomorphology, how about this! Devils Tower, also known as Bear Lodge Butte, started out as a body of magma underground, which then intruded (rose through) sedimentary country rock, then cooled, crystallised, and later became exposed at the surface following erosion. Beautiful!

via Jaime S. Sincioco (@jaimessincioco)

Screen Shot 2017-10-13 at 12.34.38

Lab lava, USA (Philippa)
Did you know that it is possible to make 'lava' in the lab? Alison Graettinger can show you how if you decide to study geoscience / volcanology and are based in the U.S.

For those of you in Europe, there are at least two universities that I know of (LMU in Munich, Germany, and the Rock Lab in Strasbourg, France), which also make 'lava' to simulate and test different conditions within volcanoes and lava flows.

via Alison Graettinger (@AlisonGraetting) / @UMKC_Geosci

Screen Shot 2017-10-13 at 11.32.03

Cumbre Viejo, La Palma, Canary Islands (Philippa)
The image below shows the latest group of InVolcan interns, who are currently doing geochemical sampling at 600 points across Cumbre Viejo volcano. They are mainly investigating the concentration levels of carbon dioxide (CO2), helium (He), and hydrogen (H).

Screen Shot 2017-10-13 at 11.40.16

Following recent seismic swarms on La Palma, which indicate possible reactivation of Cumbre Viejo volcano, InVolcan are now urgently seeking interns to assist with fieldwork for the following dates:

  • October 20 - November 17
  • November 17 - December 15
  • December 15 - January 12

They are additionally in need of interns for fieldwork on the island of Gran Canaria for the period October 20 - November 17.

Ideally, InVolcan would like either recent graduates or current students with a background in geochemistry.

For further details, see GeoTenerife or contact Sharon Backhouse (@GeoTenerife)

Potential participants: please be aware that you would need to be able to cover your own costs, including flights to the Canary Islands. However, if you can find the funding, this is a great opportunity to get some hands-on volcanology experience, and several previous interns have presented their research on the Canary Islands at conferences and in journal papers.

via Sharon Backhouse (@GeoTenerife)

Screen Shot 2017-10-13 at 11.45.30

Screen Shot 2017-10-13 at 11.46.07

Auckland volcanic field, New Zealand (Philippa)
For any of you who either live in Auckland or who are lucky enough to visit New Zealand, the poster below should be of interest to you. The city was namely built right on top of a volcanic field with at least 53 identified volcanoes!

The DEVORA project (Determining Volcanic Risk in Auckland) project was set up in order to assess potential volcanic hazards and the associated risks should any one of these volcanoes reactivate in the future. The poster is part of their outreach and education programme in order to mitigate some of this risk.

Screen Shot 2017-10-13 at 12.09.23

Further information can be found at this website:

DEVORA - Auckland, New Zealand

October 13, 2017

Volcano activity for the week of 4 to 10 October 2017

Screen Shot 2017-10-12 at 01.39.10-compressed

Agung | Bali (Indonesia)
On 5 October PVMBG reported that the rate of volcanic earthquakes at Agung had not increased during the previous 12 days, but continued to fluctuate at a high level. The seismic network detected 1-3 earthquakes per minute on average, with a total more than 600 events per day. The number of shallow volcanic earthquakes increased to 200 per day during 24 September-5 October, possibly indicating that magmatic activity at shallow depths was still high. The number of earthquakes felt by staff at the Mt. Agung Volcano Observatory in Rendang village, 12.5 km SSW, peaked on 27 September and then decreased afterwards. Gas plumes rose 50-200 m above the crater rim. Satellite data indicated an area of water expulsion near the solfatara field on the crater floor thought to reflect a disturbance to the hydrologic system in response to intruded magma at depth. On 5 October BNPB reported that the number of evacuees reached 146,797 (spread out in 427 shelters), though about 28 villages (70,000 people) were located within the evacuation zone. About 10,000 farm animals had also been evacuated. On 7 October a white plume likely composed mostly of water vapor rose 1.5 km above the crater rim and slowly drifted E. During 8-10 October fumarolic plumes rose 50-200 m above the rim. The Alert Level remained at 4 (the highest level on a scale of 1-4) with the exclusion zone at 9 km, and an additional expansion to 12 km in the SE, S, and SW directions.

Ambae - Aoba | Vanuatu
Vanuatu Geohazards Observatory (VGO) stated that photographs and thermal infrared images taken on 30 September, and 1, 3, and 5 October during overflights of Aoba’s Lake Voui confirmed that the eruption was ongoing. Activity consisted of small explosions ejecting hot rock from vents on a new small island in the lake, and a small lava flow that traveled from the vent into the lake. On 6 October VGO noted that there was no evidence of the eruption escalating; the Alert Level was lowered to 3 (the middle level on a scale of 0-5) and residents and tourists were reminded to stay outside of the Red Zone defined as a 3 km radius around the active cone. Based on analyses of satellite imagery and model data, the Wellington VAAC reported that during 10-11 October ash plumes rose as high as 3.7 km (12,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted N. On 11 October a news article stated that the government extended a state of emergency on the island to 24 October, delaying the return of the 11,000 residents that had been evacuated.

Lewotolo | Lomblen Island (Indonesia)
The number of shallow and deep volcanic earthquakes at Lewotolo recently increased, prompting PVMBG to raise the Alert Level from 1 to 2 (on a scale of 1-4) on 7 October. The report noted that the public should not enter the 2-km-radius exclusion zone around the crater. Solfatara emissions rose as high as 500 m above the crater rim on 9 October; emissions during 1 August-6 October rose 50-600 m. BNPB reported that five earthquakes recorded by Badan Meteorologi, Klimatologi, dan Geofisika (BMKG) on 10 October ranged in magnitude between 3.9 and 4.9, and were located 10-30 km below Lewotolo. The events were felt by local populations, causing an evacuation of 723 people. Preliminary data suggested that five homes were damaged from rock avalanches, triggered by the earthquakes.

October 12, 2017

Manaro Voui, Ambae, Vanuatu
The Vanuatu Government plans to return all 11,000 people evacuated from Ambae Island back to their villages next month after authorities downgraded the threat level from the Manaro Volcano.
Although the government has extended the state of emergency for another 10 days, local member Jay Ngwele tells Catherine Graue authorities are confident it will be safe for everyone to return in November.

October 11, 2017

Manaro Voui, Ambae, Vanuatu
Alert level decreased from 4 to 3

Screen Shot 2017-10-10 at 11.07.26

October 10, 2017

Manaro Voui, Ambae, Vanuatu
4 lava streams who are ending in the surrounding lake
via Shérine (@SherineFrance)

Screen Shot 2017-10-09 at 11.34.59

October 9, 2017

Mount Agung, Bali, Indonesia (Philippa)
Mount Agung volcano on the island of Bali still has not erupted (yet). However, levels of volcano-related seismicity (little earthquakes generated by the subsurface movement of magma and volcanic gases) remain high compared to background rates from earlier this year.

A VONA (Volcano Observatory Notice to Aviation) was released at 14:30 UTC today following the observation of a medium pressure plume of water vapour from the summit crater. Fumaroles (steam vents) in the summit crater have been active for at least the past week.

The 9 km and 12 km exclusion zones remain in place around the volcano. We would like to remind residents, tourists, climbers, shamens, and others UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES TO ENTER THE EXCLUSION ZONES AT THIS TIME!

(Indonesian agency) PVMBG are doing an incredible job of monitoring the activity at Mount Agung, but there is no way of forecasting if or when a volcano may erupt, and there is no way, spiritualistic or otherwise, of preventing an eruption. However, the evacuation of villagers from within the exclusion zones and asking tourists and others to not enter the exclusion zones at this time has certainly helped to reduce potential risks.

If you are currently on Bali or about to visit Bali, please see the 'press release' section of the official MAGMA Indonesia website for updates in both Indonesian and English (MAGMA Indonesia) , and Janine Krippner's link (above), which answers the most commonly asked questions regarding the current activity and potential hazards at Mount Agung.

via Sutopo Purwo Nugroho (@Sutopo_BNPB)

Screen Shot 2017-10-07 at 17.12.10

Kilauea volcano, Hawaii, USA (Philippa)
Multiple lava flows on the coastal plain of Kilauea volcano have this week been building up the height of the sea cliff at the Kamokuna lava delta.

As amazing as the ocean entries of the lava flows look, we remind tourist boats on Big Island, Hawaii not to venture too close to them, as the thermal and chemical reactions of hot lava entering cool sea water can produce littoral explosions and laze (hydrochloric acid steam)!

via Hawaiian Volcano Observatory / US Geological Survey

Screen Shot 2017-10-07 at 16.37.39

various, Kamchatka, Russia (Philippa)
Below is a round-up of some of the best webcam shots from the past 48 hours of volcanoes in Kamchatka.

via The Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, Kamchatka branch


Screen Shot 2017-10-06 at 00.26.54


Screen Shot 2017-10-06 at 00.26.13


Screen Shot 2017-10-06 at 00.27.33


Screen Shot 2017-10-06 at 00.26.37

Nevados de Chillan, Chile (Philippa)
Images of explosive eruptions with ash emissions in the past 48 hours at Nevados de Chillan volcano.

via Volcanes de Chile (@volcanesdechile) / SERNAGEOMIN

Screen Shot 2017-10-07 at 16.41.23

Volcano activity for the week of 27 September - 3 October 2017

Screen Shot 2017-10-07 at 09.42.25-compressed

Agung | Bali (Indonesia)
On 29 September PVMBG reported that earthquakes at Agung were becoming stronger with more felt by local residents, and larger ones felt in areas 45-55 km SW including Denpasar and Kuta. Fumarolic emissions were identified in satellite data, as well as hot areas on the crater floor that had enlarged over the previous week. A new fracture on the crater floor emitted steam. After a M 4.2 earthquake was detected at 1627 on 26 September emissions intensified and rose 500 m above the crater rim. On 4 October BNPB reported that seismicity continued to fluctuate at high levels, and weak emissions rose above the crater rim. The number of evacuees reached 141,213 (spread out in 416 shelters) from 78 villages, though about 2,600 in locations outside of the evacuation zone were returning home; there were 28 villages (about 70,000 people) within the evacuation zone. The Alert Level remained at 4 (the highest level on a scale of 1-4) with the exclusion zone at 9 km, and an additional expansion to 12 km in the SE, S, and SW directions.

Volcano index photo Ambrym | Vanuatu
On 28 September the Vanuatu Geohazards Observatory (VGO) reported that minor eruptive activity continued at Ambrym. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a scale of 0-5). Areas deemed hazardous were within a 2-km radius from Benbow Crater and a 3-km radius from Marum Crater.

Volcano index photo Aoba | Vanuatu
On 28 September the Vanuatu Geohazards Observatory (VGO) stated that activity at Aoba remained at a moderate level. The Alert Level remained at (the second highest level on a scale of 0-5) and VGO reminded residents and tourists to stay outside of the Red Zone defined as a 6.5 km radius around Manaro Lakua cone (Manaro Voui). According to news sources, island officials ordered the evacuation of all of the island inhabitants, and by 4 October about 11,600 people had been evacuated. A 4 October news article noted that during the past week tephra had fallen on local villages.

via Smithsonian's Global Volcanism Program and the US Geological Survey

October 7, 2017

Popocatepetl, Mexico (Philippa)
Explosive, vulcanian-style eruptions continue at Popocatepetl. Due to the reach of the volcanic ballistics, i.e. shattered rocks from the lava dome during these eruptions, a 12 km exclusion zone remains in place around the volcano.

via Volcan Popocatepetl (@Popocatepetl_MX) / www.webcamsdemexico.com

Images taken on 30th September and 5th October 2017 respectively.

Screen Shot 2017-10-05 at 11.01.02

Mount Agung, Bali, Indonesia (Philippa)

UPDATE! (11:25 UTC, 05 OCTOBER 2017)
NEW PRESS RELEASE ISSUED - via Kasbani (head of PVMBG):

Recent Updates on Mount Agung Volcanic Activity (5 October 2017 17:00 WITA)

Mount Agung is still (yet) to erupt. However, levels of (volcano) seismicity remain high, and wisps of (water) vapor can be seen rising from within fumeroles (steam vents) in the crater.

via Sutopo Purwo Nugroho (@Sutopo_BNPB)

Screen Shot 2017-10-05 at 11.11.42

The 9 km and 12 km exclusion zones remain in place around Mount Agung, and around 140,000 people from the area are currently displaced in evacuation centres, although over 2,000 people who mistakenly self-evacuated from villages outside of the exclusion zones have now returned home.

Outreach work and educating people about how best to prepare for a possible eruption are vital at this time before anything happens. The images below show some of these efforts by (the Indonesian Civil Defense) BNPB in the evacuation centres, including a comic book for children, and posters, fliers, and phone apps for adults.

via Sutopo Purwo Nugroho (@Sutopo_BNPB)

Screen Shot 2017-10-05 at 11.22.51

Screen Shot 2017-10-05 at 11.24.57

Mount Sinabung, Sumatra, Indonesia (Philippa)
Webcam image (below) from earlier today at Mount Sinabung, which continues to erupt explosively on a daily basis.


Screen Shot 2017-10-05 at 00.52.16

Ol Doinyo Lengai, Tanzania (Philippa)
The first image below, taken from a satellite pass-over, shows a thermal anomaly (in this case, the night-time glow) within the crater of Ol Doinyo Lengai.

This is a volcano which fascinates many volcanologists, as it is the only known-volcano in the world that erupts carbonatite lava instead of lava which is silicic in composition. The eruptive temperature here is only around 600 ºC compared to 700-1200 ºC at other volcanoes. Furthermore, the carbonatite lava at Ol Doinyo Lengai has a very low viscosity, i.e. it is very runny like water, and is black when it first erupts, but changes to a whitish powder as it cools down.

Sentinal 2 satellite image of thermal anomaly - via Sherine (@SherineFrance)

Screen Shot 2017-10-05 at 10.49.43

Crater at Ol Doinyo Lengai - via Joanna Brims (@joannabrimstone)

Screen Shot 2017-10-05 at 10.37.05

via Jennifer Lavoura (@Jnyalltheworld)

Screen Shot 2017-10-05 at 10.56.01

Volcan Rincon de la Vieja, Costa Rica (Philippa)
Phreatic (steam-driven) eruptions continue at Rincon de la Vieja volcano. The image (below) taken on the afternoon of 3rd October generated an eruption column to a height of 1.5 km above the summit area, and lahars (flood flows of water, volcanic ash and debris) were observed flowing from the hyper-acid crater lake down chahttps://earthquake-report.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=146064&action=editnnels along the northern flank of the volcano. Neighbourhoods along the lower flanks have been advised to avoid areas near the rivers in case of flooding from future lahars during this time.

via Comision Nacional de Emergensias

Screen Shot 2017-10-05 at 10.13.18

Volcan de Fuego, Guatemala (Philippa)
The images below were taken on 3rd October following lahars generated by heavy rainfall washing down ash fall from Volcan de Fuego. Although the effects seen in these images are relatively small-scale, the main danger with lahars is that even when they are only shallow, they are nevertheless fast flowing, can cause extensive flooding, and can reach distances of 10s of km from the summit of a volcano, depending on whether a lahar scours and erodes a channel bed or deposits ash and debris as it goes along. Furthermore, lahars can occur many months after the end of an eruption.

via CONRED Guatemala (@ConredGuatemala)

Looking up-stream:

Screen Shot 2017-10-05 at 10.23.50

Looking down-stream:

Screen Shot 2017-10-05 at 10.24.26

Monitoring volcanoes, Ecuador (Philippa)
If you have ever wondered what the inside of a volcano observatory looks like, here is a peek at some of the display screens at the Instituto Geofisica, which is responsible for monitoring the many volcanoes in Ecuador.

The screens in this particular shot shows volcano webcam images, thermal imaging, seismic traces, and maps. Such displays at other volcano observatories may also include data from infrasound / aero-acoustic, volcanic gas analysis, and deformation (inflation / deflation) monitoring, and where relevant, also meteorological information, e.g. wind speed and direction in order to forecast the distribution of a volcanic ash plume, or rainfall in order to monitor potential lahars.

via Evgenia Ilyinskaya (@EIlyinskaya)

Screen Shot 2017-10-05 at 09.56.55

Kamchatka, Russia (Philippa)
Those of you in the UK, Ireland, BeNeLux and other countries able to watch BBC programmes might be interested in the first episode of 'Russia With Simon Reeve', which features several volcanoes in Kamchatka.

via BBC iPlayer

Screen Shot 2017-10-05 at 00.24.53

Screen Shot 2017-10-05 at 00.25.09

The episode can be found via this link to BBC iPlayer. However, it will not play in all countries outside of the UK and Ireland:

Russia With Simon Reeve (BBC) - Series 1 - Episode 1

A trailer for the series, featuring some of the volcanoes, can be found here:

Russia With Simon Reeve (BBC) - trailer

Simon is also currently doing a UK theatre tour to talk about the series, including his time spent in Kamchatka. Today (Thursday 5th October) he will be at The Lowry Centre in Salford, near Manchester.

October 5, 2017

Stromboli volcano, Sicily, Italy
A short time-lapse video of a small explosion today at sunset

Mount Agung, Bali, Indonesia (Philippa)
If you are a tourist either currently on Bali or about to visit Bali, the island is safe to visit, but just be aware that (volcano) Mount Agung is showing signs that it could potentially erupt imminently. These signs include a marked increase in detected (volcano) seismic activity related to movement of magma underneath, and increased (water) vapor emission from fumaroles (small steam vents) within the crater.

In preparedness of a potential eruption at Mount Agung on the Indonesian island of Bali, (Indonesian Civil Defense) BNPB has now produced an English-language version of their poster: Socialization on how to deal with Mount Agung eruption - "Recognize the hazards, reduce the risks, be ready for your safety".

The main points to take note of are the location of the 9 km and 12 km exclusion zones around the volcano, which is located on the east side of Bali, i.e. not near the main tourist locations, and potential problems which could be caused if there is an ash-generating explosive** eruption. In such an event, in addition to the advice given on the poster, ensure that you have enough bottled drinking water with you in case of winds blowing the ash fall and contaminating water supplies, and contact your airline or tour operator before going to the airport in case of any disruption to flights due to an ash plume.

** Geological evidence and eyewitness accounts of the 1963 eruption of Mount Agung suggest that activity at this volcano may start initially with effusive lava flows followed later by explosive eruptions. There is no way of knowing if this is how a new eruption will start, nor when an eruption may start, but (monitoring agency) PVMBG say that the probability of an eruption happening at Mount Agung is now greater than the probability of an eruption not happening.

via Sutopo Purwo Nugroho (@Sutopo_BNPB)

Mount Agung BNPB poster

For further live updates, see the official MAGMA Indonesia website:

MAGMA Indonesia website

...or the weblinks given on the poster above, or Janine Krippner's updates (in English) at the link at the top of this page.

NOTE: Mount Agung should not be confused with Mount Sinabung, a volcano which has been explosively erupting for the past 4 years, which is located on Sumatra, a completely different island in the Indonesian archepelago. Media, particularly the British tabloid press, have been confusing the two.

October 4, 2017

Manaro Voui, Ambae, Vanuatu (Philippa)
Explosive eruptive activity continues at Manaro Voui crater lake on the island of Ambae. The aerial overflight imagery (below) shows changes on the east of the crater lake island within the space of 24 hours, including possible growth from new lava flows.

via Nathan Magnall (@NathanMagnall) / Planet Labs (@planetlabs)

Screen Shot 2017-10-02 at 10.26.28

Due to the continuing eruptive activity and secondary side effects, including contamination of drinking water supplies by the volcanic ash fall, the population of Ambae is currently being evacuated to neighbouring islands in Vanuatu.

Guagua Pichincha, Ecuador (Philippa)
A group of volcanologists and other research scientists are currently in Ecuador to study the volcanic gases emitted by Guagua Pichincha volcano. The gases are being studied both by direct sampling and by remote sensing. The volcano is of importance, as Ecuador's capital city - Quito - wraps around its eastern slopes just 10 km away from the summit area. The last major eruption here was in 1993, however phreatic (purely steam-driven) activity was observed between 2008-2010.

via Elena Maters (@elena_maters)

Screen Shot 2017-10-02 at 10.19.40

Menengai Caldera, East African Rift Vally, Kenya (Philippa)
The latest 'A Day In The GeoLife' series features Helen Robinson, who is currently studying the hydro-geology (i.e. water-geology-volcanology) interaction at geothermal energy plants in the East African Rift Valley. The site of her fieldwork is Menengai Caldera, which was a massive shield volcano that collapsed around 8000 years ago.

Read the full feature here:

A Day in the Geo Life... - Helen Robinson

Screen Shot 2017-10-02 at 10.03.31Helen Robinson taking sample to measure the CO2 flux (the amount of carbon dioxide gas) through the soil at one of the sites in Menengai Caldera.

Screen Shot 2017-10-02 at 10.06.07Helen and two assistants conducting geophysical surveying at another site within the Menengai Caldera. Here they are using Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) in order to survey the structure of the ground beneath them to a shallow depth (around 3-5 m). This is a good way to 'see' the shallow structure of the ground, including layers of different materials and cracks beneath the surface. The assistant in the middle is doing a GPS survey, which provides the co-ordinates of the locations at each point that the group collect GPR data.

Lava Butte, Oregon, USA (Philippa)
Making observations at sites can tell us about historical volcanic eruptions at those locations. The image below was taken at Lava Butte in Oregon, and shows a lava ball, which formed when: "...a chunk of solid lava falls into a lava flow and rolls along growing like a snowball."

via Adam Kent (@geowhateverist)

Screen Shot 2017-10-02 at 10.24.45

Webcams - World (Philippa)
A round-up (below) of some of the volcano webcam images from the past 48 hours:

Nevados de Chillan | Chile
via Volcanes de Chile (@volcanesdechile) / SERNAGEOMIN

Screen Shot 2017-10-02 at 09.38.02

Sinabung | Sumatra, Indonesia
via Jaime S Sincioco (@jaimessincioco) / Mbah Rono / PVMBG

Screen Shot 2017-10-02 at 09.40.03

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

Klyuchevskoy IVS 2017-10-01 at 22.08.10

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

Kizimen IVS 2017-10-01 at 22.08.33

Cleveland | Alaska, USA
via Alaska Volcano Observatory / US Geological Survey

Cleveland AVO USGS 2017-10-01 at 22.05.55

Redoubt | Alaska, USA
via Alaska Volcano Observatory / US Geological Survey

Redoubt AVO USGS 2017-10-01 at 22.06.31

Stromboli | Aeolian Islands, Sicily
Night shot using thermal imaging camera - via INGV - Catania

Stromboli INGV 2017-10-01 at 22.11.42

October 2, 2017

Mount Agung, Bali, Indonesia (Philippa)
Monitoring agency PVMBG yesterday conducted a helicopter overflight of Agung with staff from (Civil Defense) BNPB in order to make visual observations of the summit area. They confirm that the volcano has not (yet) erupted.

Seismic levels (i.e. the number of little earthquakes generated by the movement of magma and volcanic gases beneath the surface) nevertheless remain elevated above background levels, and the current 9 km and 12 km exclusion zones around the volcano remain in place.

PVMBG have announced that updates will only be issued as and when there are any significant changes in Agung's activity. These updates will be posted in the 'Press Release' section of the Magma Indonesia website:

Magma Indonesia - for maps and monitoring updates on Agung

There are now over 140,000 people who have relocated to 471 evacuation centres in Bali according to (Civil Defense) BNPB. However, it has been realised that many of these people have self-evacuated unnecessarily, and so the Governor of Bali last night announced that people originating from 51 villages located outside of the 9 km and 12 km exclusion zones should return home. Assistance to do so will be instigated next week. Those who originated from villages inside of the exclusion zones will remain at the evacuation centres.

6 early warning sirens have meanwhile been installed at key locations just outside of the exclusion zones and will be sounded in the event of an eruption at Agung. Their primary function will be to alert people to pyroclastic density currents (PDCs) and lahars, which could potentially reach just beyond the exclusion zones if either successive PDCs deposit material or if there is heavy rainfall respectively.

Two posters have been produced by the BNPB to inform the Balinese of these and other hazards associated with Mount Agung, such as ashfall on roofs, and how they should respond in the event of an eruption.

Screen Shot 2017-09-30 at 16.38.58

Screen Shot 2017-09-30 at 16.40.49

It should be made clear that Bali is a large island. The exclusion zones are on the far east of the island, i.e. no-where near the main tourist areas. It is therefore still safe to visit Bali.

Be aware though of the situation.
See Janine Krippner's link at the top of this page with information in English.
Take surgical masks with you, which will be much appreciated by people at the evacuation centres even if you do not need them yourself.
Be prepared for potential disruption to flight schedules in the event of an eruption producing an ash plume. In such an instance, you should contact your airline or travel agent before going to the airport.
Contingency plans for Bali's airports and ports have been put in place by the Indonesian Ministry of Transport.
The Indonesian Association of Travel Agents (ASITA) had a meeting yesterday on Bali, so are also up-to-date on the situation with Mount Agung.

Stromboli volcano, Aeolian Islands, Sicily (Philippa)
Stromboli volcano erupts regularly and in a relatively similar manner each time, making it a great place for volcanologists and other research scientists to study. However, the regularity and explosivity of the eruptions is also the reason why it is difficult and dangerous (for humans) to place geophysical surveying equipment as close to the vents as would be ideal in order to collect the best data, particularly for scanning and mapping the vents. Airborne LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) surveys have been conducted in the past, but it is too expensive to do these on a regular basis in order to track any changes in the shape of the eruption vents.

As an alternative, one group of research volcanologists have been testing the use of unmanned drones at Stromboli since as far back as 2007. It is only now though, with advances both in the design and weight of drones and the scanning technology that they have managed finally to acquire good data at a lower cost and in a timely fashion.

The full article relating to this research can be found here:

via Nicolas Turner, Bruce Houghton, Jacopo Taddeucci, Jost von der Lieth, Ullrich Kueppers, Damien Gaudin, Tullio Ricci, Karl Kim, and Piergiorgio Scalato
EOS - Drone Peers Into Open Volcanic Vents

...and here is a video showing some of the images captured by the drones:

via American Geophysical Union / YouTube

Rincon de la Vieja, Costa Rica (Philippa)
(Monitoring agencies) OVSICORI-UNA and Red Sismologica Nacional Costa Rica have reported an eruption which occurred yesterday (29 September) at 08:57 local time, producing a 2 km high eruption column. Although this was considered by the monitoring agencies to be a small eruption, the amplitude of the main seismic signal generated was greater than previous eruptions this year and in 2011.

via OVSICORI-UNA and Red Sismologica Nacional

Screen Shot 2017-09-30 at 12.51.16

Volcan Turrialba, Costa Rica (Philippa)
(Monitoring agency) OVSICORI-UNA have observed that since Tuesday 26th September Volcan Turrialba's activity has become more intense and more ash-laden in its continuous emissions. We can see this in the image below from the more grey-brown colouring of the emission plume compared to previously.


Turrialba OVSICORI-UNA 2017-09-29 at 13.50.54

The time-lapse footage below was captured from the viewpoint of a different observation station, where one of the technicians from Red Sismologica Nacional - Costa Rica (the national seismological network) was making a routine maintenance visit on 29th September.

via Luis Brenes / Red Sismologica Nacional, Costa Rica

Sakurajima, Kyushu, Japan (Philippa)
The following image (top) and time lapse footage (below) of Sakurajima volcano was captured yesterday. If you look closely you can see that volcanic lightning was generated during this particular explosive eruption, indicative of turbulent and rapid updrafts of volcanic ash particles in the eruption column.

via Masato Watanabe / 渡邊正哲

Sakurajima 2017-09-30 at 11.31.01


Webcam shots - World (Philippa)
Below are some of the best webcam shots that we managed to capture in the past 48 hours:

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

Klyuchevskoy IVS 2017-09-29 at 19.35.42

Poas | Costa Rica

POAS OVSICORI-UNA 2017-09-29 at 13.50.27

Sabancaya | Peru

Sabancaya1 OVI-INGEMMET 2017-09-29 at 13.52.27Sabancaya2 OVI-INGEMMET 2017-09-29 at 13.51.43

Mount Semeru | Java, Indonesia

Semeru PVMBG 2017-09-28 at 01.38.20

Weekly Volcanic Activity Report - World

Activity for the week of 20-26 September 2017

via Smithsonian's Global Volcanism Program and the US Geological Survey

Screen Shot 2017-09-30 at 11.34.55

Agung | Bali (Indonesia)
(Civil Defense) BNPB noted that as of 1300 on 22 September there were 9,421 people displaced from the evacuation zones on Agung. Seismicity continued to increase, therefore later that day on 22 September (monitoring agency) PVMBG raised the Alert Level to 4 (the highest level on a scale of 1-4) and expanded the exclusion zone to 9 km, with an additional expansion to 12 km in the SE, S, and SW directions. On 24 September BNPB reported that the number of evacuees continued to grow, as residents were leaving the expanded evacuation zones; there were 34,931 people in 238 shelters. The report noted that some people were returning home in the daytime to feed their livestock. On 27 September the number of evacuees reached 96,086 (spread out in 430 shelters), seismic activity continued to escalate, and diffuse white plumes rose 50 m above the crater rim.

Aoba | Vanuatu
On 23 September the Vanuatu Geohazards Observatory (VGO) stated that activity at Aoba continued to increase, prompting them to raise the Alert Level to 4 (the second highest level on a scale of 0-5). On 24 September photos showed an ash plume rising above the crater rim, and ashfall was reported in areas across the island. One report noted that ashfall had been reported for a few weeks. The Vanuatu government's Council of Ministers declared a state of emergency on the island on 26 September; about 36 schools were closed. That same day the New Zealand Defence Force conducted an overflight and posted a video showing an ash plume and lava fountains rising from the vent. On 27 September a news article stated that about 8,000 residents were in 35 evacuation shelters, mostly evacuated from the N and S parts of the island to the E and W areas.

Lopevi | Vanuatu
Increased activity at Lopevi prompted the Vanuatu Geohazards Observatory to increase the Alert Level to 2 (on a scale of 0-4). The report noted that all visitors should not approach the crater area.

San Cristobal | Nicaragua
Based on seismic data INETER reported that a period of tremor recorded at San Cristobal during 19:39-20:05 on 9 September ended with an explosion signal.

Telica | Nicaragua
INETER reported that a small gas explosion was heard by local residents on 10 September. INETER warned the public to stay at least 2 km away from the crater.

September 30, 2017

Manaro Voui, Ambae island, Vanuatu (Philippa)
The footage (below) of the current eruption at Manaro Voui crater on the island of Ambae is an example of how to do a good commentary with video at a volcano. This person has really looked at - and listened to - the location, making observations not just about the eruption plume itself, but the colour of the crater lake, and the sounds that they hear (I previously did research on volcano and geyser acoustics, so these aural observations are of particular interest to me. As any volcanologist conducting monitoring fieldwork on an active volcano will tell you though, we use our ears as much as our eyes, as this is the first sense to alert us to danger!)

via Dan McGarry (@dailypostdan) / Nixon Garae Tambeana

Popocatepetl, Mexico (Philippa)
In response to questions from both the media and the general public regarding whether or not the recent earthquakes beneath Mexico have had any effect on the on-going eruptions at Popocatepetl volcano, The Instituto de Geofisica (Institute of Geophysics) at UNAM and The National Disaster Prevention Centre (CENAPRED), which are responsible for monitoring the activity at Popocatepetl, have issued these joint statements in both Spanish and English:

(In English) Instituto de Geofisica, UNAM - CENAPRED Joint Communication on Popocatepetl's Eruptive Activity

(En espanol) Communicado Conjunto del Instituto de Geofisica de la UNAM y el Centro Nacional de Prevencion de Desastres, en relacion con la actividad del Volcan Popocatepetl

via Volcan Popocatepetl (@Popcatepetl_MX) / www.webcamsdemexico.com

Screen Shot 2017-09-29 at 11.35.21

Mount Agung, Bali, Indonesia (Philippa)

via BBC News

Screen Shot 2017-09-29 at 11.14.19

Little change in activity since our updates from this past week. However, an official press release has now been issued by the Head of PVMBG with an overview of the key observational data. The main points are:

  • Seismicity: The number of volcano-related earthquakes around Mount Agung, per day, remains high relative to the background levels from prior to July of this year - between around 700-1000 events total per day (volcano-tectonic [VTs], long period [LPs], and local earthquakes) - and more of these earthquakes are being felt** by people around Agung and the Batur area of eastern Bali.

** For anyone who feels a little dizzy due to these little volcanic-related earthquakes, this is caused by the ground vibration translating to movement of the fluid in the inner ears, which for some people can cause motion sickness, problems with balance, and in extreme cases, vertigo.

  • Satellite remote sensing + visual observations: steam emissions have been detected in the summit crater area, including a new area in the centre (see the two images we posted yesterday). White steam is occasionally observed to rise to 50-200 m above the summit area.
  • Deformation: Analysis of tiltmeter data suggests some inflation (swelling) of Mount Agung. (This, together with the seismic information and the new steam emissions suggests that a new input of magma is rising within the volcano.)

The following analysis is paraphrased exactly from the report:

  1. Based on the analysis of current monitoring data, at this moment, the probability of an eruption is higher than the probability of no eruption; however, the probability may change at any time depending on current monitoring data.
  2. If an eruption does occur, it is most likely to be small at first; however, a large eruption may follow. The size of future eruptions cannot be determined with certainty.
  3. The exact date and time of future eruptions cannot be predicted, however; CVGHM will issue warnings when conditions change and eruptions are more certain.
  4. It is still safe to travel to Bali; however, visitors should not enter the restricted areas near the volcano (currently at distances of 12 km to the southeast to southwest and north to northeast and 9 km elsewhere. CVGHM has worked with the Indonesian National Agency for Disaster Management (BNPB) to develop warnings for eruptive activity.
  5. Visitors to Bali and local people should stay aware of hazard warnings from Indonesian government officials. Current information can be obtained via CVGHM's web and mobile phone application Magma Indonesia (magma.vsi.esdm.go.id) and via Google Playstore.

BBC News have produced a series of short video features, which give a well-rounded view of the current situation:

  • The last time Mount Agung erupted - interviews with older people currently at evacuation centres, who remember the 1963 eruption
  • Is Bali volcano about to erupt? - featuring one of PVMBG's monitoring scientists, and showing that most of Bali currently remains unaffected, including tourist areas, but to be aware of possible disruption to flights in the event of explosive eruptions.
  • Bali volcano evacuees: 'These dogs are my family' - interviews with evacuees who have managed to take a few, but not all pets with them, and the psychological effect
  • Bali volcano evacuees 'broken-hearted' - people are feeling home sick, sad, bored...but say that they are being well looked after and understand why they needed to evacuate.

BBC News - series of short video features on Mount Agung, evacuees, pets, and Bali tourists

September 29, 2017

Mount Agung, Bali, Indonesia (Philippa)
All eyes are on Agung at the moment during this heightened state of (potentially pre-eruptive) volcano seismicity. Trying to forecast what a volcano may or may not do is notoriously difficult, even for the experts, as witnessed during the crisis at Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines.

In the meantime, observations continue to be gathered. The first image (below) shows an aerial view captured by Planet Labs Inc. looking directly down onto the summit crater area. Just to the top right of shot the image shows constant degassing (volcanic gas emissions, in this example probably water vapor) from the north east part of the crater. The scientist who posted this observes that: "No major changes apparent since September 20th."

via Simon Carn (@simoncarn) / Planet Labs Inc (@planetlabs)

Screen Shot 2017-09-28 at 10.27.14

The second image (below), which was also posted yesterday evening, allegedly shows the summit crater of Agung at ground level. We have no way of verifying this. However, the features do look similar to the aerial shot above, particularly the dark patches, and we do know that several people have attempted to send drones to the summit area in the past 24 hours to try and capture up-to-date images. This one shows small-scale degassing of what appears to be water vapor from fumeroles (steam vents) if you look to the left-hand side of the shot, about halfway down.

via Project Floral Channel / YouTube

Agung 2017-09-28 at 012104 Project Floral Channel

Meanwhile, for any of you currently on Bali, Janine Krippner has updated her link above with information on how to prepare for a potential eruption. Please check with your airline or tour operator for any changes to flight times before traveling to the airport. If / when there is an eruption at Agung, although the main airport on the southern side of Bali is far outside of the suggested exclusion zones, there may be delays in getting to the airport due to increased traffic on the roads, and flights may be delayed or cancelled if there were to be a large eruption ash plume, depending on wind direction.

Signs are now being erected to more clearly indicate the boundaries of the suggested 9 km and 12 km exclusion zones on the east side of Bali.

via Indonesian Red Cross (@pelangmerah)

Screen Shot 2017-09-28 at 10.48.40

If you like our reports, please consider giving us a donation.
Expenses are running high and this site can only survive with private donations.
Click here to be linked with our PAYPAL account
Thank You


(Civil Defense) BNPB have just posted their latest update. The general points are as follows:

Around 104,673 people have now evacuated to over 447 points of refuge across 9 districts around Bali. In general people are coping well, and logistically stock is being distributed to where it needs to be.

The biggest problem during this (potential) pre-eruption phase is with regards to cattle, which are important in both Indonesian culture and livelihood. Some people do not wish to evacuate, or are returning to their homes within the 9 km and 12 km exclusion zones during the daytime in order to tend to their livestock.

via Sutopo Purwo Nugroho

Screen Shot 2017-09-29 at 10.17.43

Between them, The Animal Husbandry Task Force and Balinese communities have evacuated around 28,000 head of cattle. However, it is estimated by the National Coordination Post that there are still around 30,000 head of livestock within the exclusion zones. The limitations at the moment are the number of vehicles and personnel available to move and care for the livestock, and planning ahead, whether there will be enough cattle feed and green grass. If Agung were to have explosive eruptions, depending on the wind direction, there would be a risk of grazing areas outside of the exclusion zones becoming contaminated by ash fall.

The Animal Husbandry Task Force and the local communities continue to work tirelessly at this time, and BNPB have issued a 24 hour phone line for livestock owners to contact.

Aside from this, below are two images of Agung: the first taken at sunrise this morning from a distance of around 13 km; the second taken within the last hour, also from just outside the exclusion zones. The latter shows a small plume of what appears to be water vapour; no ash.

via wolfofbroward (@wolfofbroward)

Agung wolfofbroward 28Sept2017 0620local 13km

via Adam Harvey (@adharves)

Agung Adam Harvey 28Sept2017 1115


Manaro Voui crater lake, Ambae, Vanuatu (Philippa)
The Prime Minister of Vanuatu, Charlot Salwai, has just announced in a press conference that the island of Ambae is to be mass evacuated following this week's eruption at Manaro Voui crater lake. A deadline has been set for this immediate, compulsory evacuation to be completed by 6th October.

via Dan McGarry (@dailypostdan)

Screen Shot 2017-09-28 at 02.05.54

The whole-island evacuation of Ambae, around 11,100 people, was ordered following the advice of the Vanuatu Meteorological and Geo-Hazards Department. They have observed that eruptive activity of Manaro Voui crater is increasing, including lava ballistics, volcanic gases, acid rain, and extensive ash fall across the island.

Following the press conference with the Prime Minister of Vanuatu earlier today, (Media agency) RNZI report that the plan is to evacuate residents by ship to the neighbouring Vanuatuan islands of Maewo, Espiritu Santo, Pentecost and Malakula.

via Vanuatu Digest

Ambae 2017-09-28

Sinabung volcano, Sumatra, Indonesia (Philippa)
Explosive eruptions continue on a daily basis at Sinabung volcano.

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

Sinabung Endro Lewa 27Sept2017 6pm

Volcan Popocatepetl + Volcan Colima, Mexico (Philippa)
For the person who was asking about volcanoes currently erupting in Mexico, below are images from the past 24 hours at Popocatepetl and Colima respectively.

via CENAPRED (http://www.cenapred.unam.mx/popo/UltimaImagenVolcanI.html)

Popocatepetl CENAPRED 27Sept2017 0719

via Sky Alert (@SkyAlertMx)

Colima Sky Alert 27Sept2017

Gran Canaria, Canary Islands (Philippa)
Here at Earthquake-Report.com we love seeing other geoscientists' fieldwork photos. The selected one today is a lunchtime view from Caldera de Bandama on Gran Canaria, where interns with GeoTenerife (@GeoTenerife) are this month conducting geothermal and geochemical exploration.

via Daniel Roberts (@Dan_Bowden97)

Screen Shot 2017-09-28 at 02.33.18

World - book: Eruption! Volcanoes and the Science of Saving Lives (Philippa)
For those of you interested in how active volcano monitoring translates into preventing the loss of life during eruption and then recovery post-eruption, this book has been recommended - via US Aid / OFDA (@theOFDA). It recalls how the Volcano Disaster Assistance Program (VDAP) came into being after the tragedy at Nevada del Ruiz volcano in Colombia in 1985. VDAPs mission became "...to help prevent crises becoming disasters." Since that time they have provided scientific and technical assistance to international monitoring agencies around the world in response to over 30 major volcanic crises.

Leadership of VDAP has recently been taken over by the former Scientist-In-Charge of Yellowstone Volcano Observatory, and the emphasis of VDAP's role has moved away from providing monitoring equipment during crises towards collaborating with international institutes to assess potential volcanic hazards, communicating these hazards to the public to create awareness and resilience, and to generating eruption forecasts in order to improve early warning capabilities.

Screen Shot 2017-09-28 at 02.40.39

World - geothermal spas (Philippa)
One of the positives of living near a volcano - geothermally-heated spas, which are thought to have healing properties. If you are ever lucky enough to visit to Japan, I highly recommend going to one of the many onsen (Japanese-style geothermally-heated spas), particularly on the southern island of Kyushu.

via Evgenia Ilyinskaya (@EIlyinskaya)

Screen Shot 2017-09-28 at 03.06.49

September 28, 2017

Mount Agung, Bali, Indonesia (Philippa)
Agung volcano has not (yet) erupted. However, there was a slight increase in the number of Long Period (LP) earthquakes detected yesterday (579 compared to 547 the day before), which is indicative of volcanic gases resonating in cracks at depths of less than 1 km below the surface, and as Armand reported yesterday, one of the local tectonic earthquakes, which occur as a result of changes in stresses in the bedrock over a larger area, was felt across the whole of the island of Bali.

A continuous low pressure white plume, likely to be water vapour (i.e. steam, which is one of several volcanic gases), was observed emitting from the summit area yesterday to an elevation of around 500 m. No ash has been observed. However, due to this observation and the elevated levels of seismicity at Agung, a VONA (Volcano Observatory Notification to Aviation) was issued, raising the Aviation Alert Level to Orange as a precaution. Commercial flight paths around Indonesia are busy, due to neighbouring Singapore being a major hub for South-East Asia, and Bali itself being a popular tourist destination.

Mount Agung showing a tiny wisp of water vapour at the summit (27 Sept 2017)
- via Step Vaessen (@stepvaessen)

Screen Shot 2017-09-27 at 10.35.08

The first map (below) show the location of all the current volcano activity, Earthquake activity, and landslide activity that (agency) PVMBG has to monitor across the many islands of Indonesia. The island of Bali is located about half-way along the bottom edge. This map also shows the locations of neighbouring Singapore, Malaysia, and Papua New Guinea. The second map shows the location of Mount Agung on the east side of the island of Bali.

If you like our reports, please consider giving us a donation.
Expenses are running high and this site can only survive with private donations.
Click here to be linked with our PAYPAL account
Thank You

via Magma Indonesia (https://magma.vsi.esdm.go.id/)

PVMBG activity map Indonesia

PVMBG activity map Bali

(Civil Defense) BNPB report that around 76,000 people have fled their homes to evacuation centres across Bali. This is greater than the total populations from within the 9 km and 12 km exclusion zones around Agung, and BNPB believe that people from outside of these areas have self-evacuated partly due to psychological and sociological reasons, and partly due to people not being able to correctly identify where they live relative to the volcanic hazard maps that have been issued. (Attempts to make hazard maps easier for local communities to relate to is something that several volcanologists and research scientists around the world are currently working on). The self-evacuation is viewed as a sign of resilient communities who are able to anticipate potential risk. This is in contrast to when the opposite occurs, i.e. if people are reluctant to evacuate even after the start of an eruption.

The poster (below - in Baha Indonesian) indicates the number of evacuation points in each region of Bali, and approximately how many inhabitants have fled to each one. This is overlain with the hazard map issued by (monitoring agency) PVMBG showing the 9 km and 12 km exclusion zones and areas in eastern Bali which could potentially be affected depending on the volcanic hazard.

via Sutopo Purwo Nugroho (@Sutopo_BNPB)

BNPB num refugee points and num refugees

The President of Indonesia - Joko Widodo - and the relevant Ministers yesterday visited two of the evacuation centres on Bali. They met with the appointed incident commanders for the disaster management command network, which has been established to provide a single point of contact for data and information communication in the event of an eruption. Financial aid** has been provided by the government to fund the operation of this emergency stand-by, with local businesses, fundraisers, and volunteers from other parts of Bali also providing assistance to help maintain a sense of community for those who have been displaced.

** Part of this funding has gone towards providing siren units for an Early Warning System, communication systems, and logistical support, including vehicles.

This image (below) shows one of the siren units being installed in the east of Bali.

via Sutopo Purwo Nugroho (@Sutopo_BNPB)

BNPB installing early warning system

The image (below) shows volunteers providing food aid at one of the Indonesian Red Cross evacuation centres.

via Indonesian Red Cross (@palangmerah)

Indonesian Red Cross - volunteers at evacuation centre

Other assistance being provided at the evacuation centres includes:

  • Blankets
  • Mats
  • Emergency tents
  • 640,000 masks to avoid inhalation of volcanic ash in the event of an eruption
  • Well drilling - to provide clean supplies of drinking water
  • Establishment of toilets in refugee locations
  • 24 hour health service and mobile health units
  • school and student kits and the establishment of 'sister' schools
  • other supplies for children, such as clothing

Aside from the evacuation efforts, socialisation and education programmes are being established for disaster risk reduction and preparedness upfront of a potential eruption at Agung.

Manaro Voui crater lake, Ambae island, Vanuatu (Philippa)
It is proving difficult to get first-hand information regarding the eruption of Manaro Voui crater lake on Ambae island, Vanuatu, as there are no up-to-date reports from the relevant monitoring agency. However, the New Zealand Air Force has continued their assistance with aerial monitoring of this eruption, which as reported (below) by Armand, has led to an official State of Emergency being declared across the island of Ambae.

via Jeannie Curtis (@VolcanoJeannie) / Royal NZ Air Force (@NZAirForce)

Screen Shot 2017-09-27 at 11.03.56

Due to continuing activity, including ash fall which has reportedly killed tree coverage, crops, and vegetables, an estimated 8,000 people have now been relocated from the north and south of Ambae to the west and east by either boat, trucks (along bumpy terrain!), or by foot.

In contrast to the situation (mentioned above) on Bali, Ambae was not as prepared prior to the eruption of Manaro Voui**, and current challenges on the island include not enough space at temporary evacuation centres, lack of shelter, dwindling supplies of food and drinking water***, and insufficient sanitation and hygiene facilities.

** The whole of the island of Ambae is the emergent part of a volcano. Manaro Voui is one of its crater lakes. As the current explosive eruptions here are therefore phreatically-generated, i.e. by the sudden flashing of water to steam on contact with hot rock / magma, there would not have been any seismic warning beforehand to indicate that this was about to happen. Hence people's unpreparedness.

*** The rain-water catchments, which normally provide the island's supply of drinking water, have been contaminated by ash fall.

The Vanuatu government has provided financial aid to tackle the situation, and aid, such as resupplies of drinking water, is being sent from international organisations. Families on neighbouring islands are chartering boats to help get people off Ambae.

The full Radio NZ story can be read here:

Fears supplies on Ambae not enough for evacuees

September 27, 2017

Manaro Voui crater lake, Ambae island, Vanuatu
Recent overflight of the active craters and the surrounding lake

Mount Agung, Bali, Indonesia
Activity Update 09:49 UTC:

A relatively powerful earthquake occurred 5 km below the volcano complex. Check our earthquake report for more details or click on the page image below

Screen Shot 2017-09-27 at 18.59.48

Manaro Voui crater lake, Ambae island, Vanuatu

Screen Shot 2017-09-25 at 15.43.36

Mount Agung, Bali, Indonesia (Philippa)
The eastern side of the island of Bali remains on high alert as seismicity around Mount Agung increases further.
(Monitoring agency) PVMBG reported 564 volcano tectonic quakes (VTs), 547 long period quakes (LPs), and 89 local tectonic quakes. As we have previously reported, VTs are indicative of magma breaking through the surrounding bedrock as it rises to the surface and tend to be located under the flanks of a volcano, whilst LPs are indicative of volcanic gas resonance in cracks underground, and tend to occur at shallower depths (< 1 km) nearer to the conduit of a volcano; local tectonic quakes are due to changes in the local stresses of the bedrock around a volcano in response to rising magma.

There is no sure-fire way to determine if or when Mount Agung might erupt, as although the seismic activity clearly indicates that magma is currently migrating underground at shallow depths, one of three scenarios could occur:

  1. There could be an eruption shortly if there is a plentiful supply of magma. This eruption could either start as effusive lava flows around the flanks of Agung or as explosive ash columns from a central conduit.
  2. The magma could stall near to the surface and not erupt for a while until there is a new injection of younger magma, triggering an explosive eruption, which is what happened in 2010 at Eyjafjallajokul volcano in Iceland
  3. The magma could stall near to the surface and not erupt if either there is not a plentiful supply or if there is no release of pressure at the surface and the magma slowly cools underground.

As a precaution, around 57,430 people from 9 different districts around Mount Agung, i.e. within the recommended 9 km and 12 km exclusion zones, have been evacuated. Other communities on Bali have rallied to provide assistance to those who have been displaced, including temporary offers of accommodation, food aid and kitchens, helping to evacuate cattle and provide temporary grazing grounds**. (Civil Defense) BNPB are coordinating the evacuation response with the Bali Provincial Government together with TNI, Polri, Ministry of Social Affairs, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Public Works, Basarnas, Ministry of ESDM, Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Transportation and others. The President is also due to visit several evacuation centres on Bali to provide assistance.

** As a precaution, local residents, tourists, and climbers should try to acquire a face mask (e.g. surgical mask) in order to avoid breathing in volcanic ash in the event of an explosive eruption. Carrying a supply of drinking water is also advised, as volcanic ash can contaminate potable water sources. With regards to cattle, eating grass or other food contaminated with volcanic ash fall can cause a condition called fluorosis, where the enamel of their teeth decays to the point where the cattle are no longer able to eat, and die. Hence why efforts are currently being made to evacuate cattle as well as people from the exclusion zones as a precaution.

Official updates in Bahasa Indonesian can be found on the BNPB site at the hyperlink (below):

(Civil Defense) BNPB official updates on Mount Agung

A spokesman at Ngurah Rai Airport has said that in the event of an explosive eruption producing ash fall, face masks will be distributed at the airport. via Jewel Topsfield (@JewelTopsfield).

Also - regarding Agung's volcanic seismicity: the number of VTs has been about the same for the past week, but it is the number of shallower LPs that have increased in the past 2 days, and hence the go-ahead for the evacuations of local communities as a precaution.

Finally - thanks to Earthquake-Report.com's Dr Janine Krippner (@janinekrippner) for finding this link, which tells the evacuation experience (in English) of one family from the exclusion zone around Mount Agung:

The Earth Matters - Asia - one family's evacuation experience

Cleveland volcano, Alaska, USA (Philippa)
The Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) / US Geological Survey (USGS) have reported that a moderate, explosive eruption occurred this morning at Cleveland volcano. The eruption, which was detected by seismic and infrasound sensors, lasted around 2 minutes. Although no ash plume has been detected on the satellite observations, the Aviation Alert Level has been kept at Orange as a precaution due to the busy commercial flight routes over Alaska.

Cleveland is one of the most active volcanoes in the Aleutian Arc of Alaska, and last erupted in 2011.

Image via M.L. Harbin (University of Alaska Fairbanks / AVO / USGS)

Screen Shot 2017-09-26 at 09.06.52

September 26, 2017

Mount Agung, Bali, Indonesia (Philippa)
No new updates on Mount Agung, which is currently at Alert Level 4 due to elevated seismic activity, but has NOT (yet) erupted. However, if you are currently visiting the island of Bali as a tourist or are intending on doing so, two helpful pieces of advice:

  1. From the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO): "In the event of an eruption and volcanic ash clouds, which could cause flight disruptions, you should confirm your travel arrangements directly with your airline or travel agent before traveling to the airport."
  2. (Civil Defense) BNPB have launched this handy MyMaps app via Google Maps so that you can see exactly which parts of Bali are within either the 9 km or 12 km recommended exclusion zones (marked with the pink and orange circles) or potential hazard zones for lahars, should there be an eruption followed by heavy rainfall.

Should an eruption actually occur, the MyMaps app will update in real time. See the hypelink below.

MyMaps app - Indonesian island of Bali

As can be seen on the current map, other than disruption from a potential ash cloud, depending on the meteorological conditions, most of Bali would remain unaffected in the event of an eruption at this volcano.

The only site that tourists are currently being advised to avoid is Besakih Temple (see image below), as this is within the current recommended exclusion zone around Mount Agung.

via Sutopo Purwo Nugroho (@Sutopo_BNPB)

Screen Shot 2017-09-25 at 09.48.37

Mount Sinabung, Sumatra, Indonesia (Philippa)
Mount Sinabung on the island of Sumatra continues to display explosive eruptions on a daily basis. The images below show re-growth of the lava dome (image taken today) and the eruptive activity that occurs when the dome becomes unstable, collapses, and relieves the pressure at the top of the magma column like the cork being taken off a champagne bottle (images taken on 23 September 2017). Volcanic lightning is also sometimes generated due to the strong updrafts and turbulence within the ash plume at the start of an explosive eruption.

The exclusion zone around Mount Sinabung remains in place.

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

Sinabung 25Sept2017 Endro Lewa

Screen Shot 2017-09-25 at 09.16.59

Manaro Voui crater lake, Ambae island, Vanuatu (Philippa)
The following update has been posted on social media today by the Vanuatu Red Cross in relation to the current activity at Manaro Voui crater lake on Ambae island:

"Monaro Volcano on Ambae Island remains at Alert Level 4.

Provincial authorities are undertaking evacuations of people in high risk areas to safer areas. Over 3,000 people have moved to host communities on Ambae away from high risk areas. Further movement of people is likely in the coming days. Host communities and the Provincial authorities are supporting people's immediate needs.

The National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) Director and the Manager GeoHazards Department met with Provincial authorities this morning on-site in Ambae to get an update from Provincial authorities, provide guidance on operational plans, discuss the risk areas and evacuation planning.

The Penama Provincial Government along with the Provincial Disaster & Climate Change Committee (PDCCC) and Provincial Disaster Officer are still taking the lead in the coordination of the operation. NDMO has deployed two of its officers and JPOC deployed a police officer this morning to assist the Provincial operation team on-ground in planning and managing evacuations.

The Council of Ministers is planning a meeting this morning. A planned inter-agency briefing is scheduled for this afternoon. Partner agencies are requested to be ready to support coordination and response efforts in the coming days.

In the meantime Penama Red Cross branch volunteers are on the ground assisting the province with the evacuation plan, while the Head Office is preparing for any emergency response that will be required."

via Vanuatu Red Cross
Manaro Voui crater lake Vanuatu Red Cross

Kizimen volcano, Kamchatka, Russia (Philippa)
Below are two webcam images of Kizimen volcano taken 8 hours apart. In a game of 'spot the difference' we notice, for example, that there is activity at a secondary vent in the 2nd image. If any of you would like to become volcanologists, this is the way to start: viewing volcanoes via webcams and observing changes in activity over time.

via Institute of Volcanology and Seismology - Kamchatka branch

Kizimen IVS 25Sept2017

September 25, 2017

Agung volcano, Bali, Indonesia (Philippa)
Contrary to some reports circulating social media, Agung volcano has NOT (yet) erupted. The island of Bali nevertheless remains at Volcano Alert Level 4 due to elevated (volcano) seismicity, and communities and livestock are temporarily migrating away from the 9 km and 12 km exclusion zones as a precaution.

The two videos (below - in Indonesian) have been issued by monitoring agency PVMBG advising local residents on Bali what to do in the event of an eruption. The 2nd video also provides useful phone numbers, including for the emergency services and first responders.

(Armand) In 1963 the volcano bubbled around for about a month before it exploded. What will happen now?, nobody knows but precautionary measures are really necessary in this case.

via Jay Wellik / IAVCEI Commission on Volcanic Hazards and Risk



The images (below) were taken in September - October 2011 during geological fieldwork around Bali to investigate the volcanic deposits from historical eruptions of Agung. It was from these investigations that the volcano hazard map issued by PVMBG was generated (see hyperlink in yesterday's post).

via Karen Fontijn (@VolcKaren) (volcanologist, University of Oxford)

Screen Shot 2017-09-24 at 22.51.21

Manaro Voui crater lake, Ambae island, Vanuatu (Philippa)
The image of Manaro Voui crater (below) was taken earlier today after an audible eruption in the middle of the night.

Members of staff from both the Vanuatu Meteorology & Geo-Hazards Department, which monitors Vanuatu's volcanoes, and the Vanuatu National Disaster Management office today visited the island of Ambae to assess the current eruptive activity. An update is yet to be posted to the VMGHD Bulletin.

Evacuations by boat of inhabitants from the north, south, and western parts of Ambae to the east of the island have been underway during the past 48 hours.

via Brandon.88 / Instagram / Sherine (@SherineFrance)

Screen Shot 2017-09-24 at 22.16.45

September 24, 2017

Agung volcano, Bali, Indonesia (Philippa)
(Monitoring agency) The Center of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (CVGHM) / Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG) has raised the alert level at Agung volcano on the island of Bali to Level IV, indicating increased probability of an imminent eruption.

via David Stanley / Flickr / Singapore Earth Observatory

Screen Shot 2017-09-23 at 14.21.55

Seismic activity has been increasing for the past 6 weeks, transitioning from volcano tectonic earthquakes (VTs) to long period earthquakes (LPs) at shallower depths. VTs are generated by magma breaking through the surrounding bedrock as it rises towards the surface (~1-3 km depth); LPs are generated by resonance of volcanic gases within cracks in the ground nearer to the surface (< 1 km depth).

Volcanic eruptions are almost always preceded by LPs, but the occurrence of LPs does not necessarily mean that an eruption will definitely happen, as magma can sometimes stall within the ground and not erupt. However, in the case of Agung volcano, local people have anecdotally reported that snakes and other animals, which are sensitive to ground vibrations, have been seen migrating to lower down the flanks this week, a phenomenon which has often been witnessed at other volcanoes around the world shortly before an eruption.

It is particularly difficult for CVGHM / PVMBG to forecast what Agung volcano may or may not do next, as there is no historic seismic data to compare with from the previous eruption in 1963; there were no seismometers stationed on the volcano at that time. The only historic information that they are able to go by is the geological evidence, i.e. the volcanic deposits on the flanks and surrounding areas from previous eruptions at Agung which have been examined and mapped**, and the eyewitness accounts from local inhabitants who experienced the 1963 eruption, who mentioned a similar sequence of earthquake events prior to that eruption.

This historic news reel footage shows grainy black and white images of the 1963 eruption and the after effects to local communities:

via British Pathe / YouTube

CVGHM / PVMBG have been able to determine that eruptions at Agung occur approximately once within every 100 year cycle, and are characterised by both effusive lava flows and explosive eruptions within the crater.

** Based on the geological evidence from previous eruptions, a hazard map has been issued, which shows the surrounding areas that could potentially be affected depending on the eruptive and post-eruptive activity that could occur. Hazards include: ballistics (volcanic rocks ejected from a vent or explosion), ash fall, pyroclastic density currents, lava flows, lahars / debris flows.

Volcanic hazard map for Agung volcano - issued by PVMBG

CVGHM / PVMBG are closely monitoring the current situation, and have already issued recommendations to the local authorities for an exclusion zone of 9 km around the summit and an extension to 12 km in north-north-easterly to south-south-westerly. They have made clear though that depending on the meteorological conditions should an eruption occur, for example were there to be heavy rainfall or strong winds, the hazards such as lahars or pyroclastic density currents could reach beyond these distances.

Other recommendations issued:

  • to local authorities to issue face masks to minimize inhalation of volcanic ash should an explosive eruption occur
  • to local authorities to have radio communication equipment on standby
  • notification to the aviation authorities of potential imminent eruption
  • to local communities, tourists, climbers and other people currently in this area of Bali to avoid the recommended exclusion zone, to remain calm but vigilant, and to follow any instructions issued by the local authorities and Civil Defense in the event of an eruption.

Further updates will be posted by CVGHM / PVMBG (in Indonesian) and the Singapore Earth Observatory (in English) at the hyperlinks below:

Updates on Agung volcano - from CVGHM / PVMBG

Updates on Agung volcano (in English) - via Singapore Earth Observatory

As a precaution, evacuations of the most at-risk areas are currently underway.

Ambae volcano, Vanuatu
Vanuatu prepares to evacuate 5000 people
Alert level was increased from 3 to 4

Screen Shot 2017-09-23 at 09.15.56

Screen Shot 2017-09-23 at 09.16.39

Screen Shot 2017-09-23 at 09.08.19

The image below of Ambae was taken yesterday.

via Adam Reid / Instagram / Sherine (@SherineFrance)

Screen Shot 2017-09-23 at 14.59.14

Kilauea volcano, Hawaii, USA (Philippa)
As well as there being a lava lake within Halema`uma`u Crater at the summit of Kilauea volcano on Big Island, Hawaii, a lava lake also formed about a year ago within the Pu`u O`o Crater, which is further down the East Rift Zone on Kilauea, about halfway between the summit area and the ocean.

via Hawaiian Volcano Observatory / US Geological Survey

HVO geologist at Pu`u O`o crater

The image above shows one of the geologists from the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory changing the SD card in a time lapse camera positioned on the rim of Pu`u O`o Crater, whilst the image below shows one of the stills taken by the camera looking towards the western edge of the lava lake.

Screen Shot 2017-09-23 at 12.34.57


mudpots - Uzon Caldera, Kamchatka, Russia (Philippa)
Do not watch this whilst eating. It might make you feel a little queezy. The footage below shows bubbling mudpots in the caldera (collapsed magma chamber) of Uzon volcano in Kamchatka. Such mudpots are common at other volcanic locations around the world, including Iceland, New Zealand, and in the USA (Lassen, Yellowstone, etc). These started as acidic hot springs or fumeroles (steam vents), but in which the water supply slowly diminishes. The combination of the acidic conditions and the micro-organisms, which thrive in these conditions, causes the surrounding rock to be decomposed into clay and mud. Their bubbling activity indicates that the bedrock below is still hot, hence why the little water left in the system forms steam bubbles which rise to the surface.

via Exploratorium / YouTube


Volcano activity for the week of 19-25 July 2017

Screen Shot 2017-09-23 at 09.12.04-compressed

Agung | Bali (Indonesia)
Increased seismicity at Agung, as well as the severity of past eruptions, prompted PVMBG to raise the Alert Level to 2 (on a scale of 1-4). The report noted that volcanic earthquakes (VA) began to be recorded on 10 August and shallow volcanic earthquakes (VB) began to be recorded on 24 August. Local tectonic earthquakes were also recorded and began to increase consistently on 26 August. PVMBG warned the public to stay at least 3 km away from the crater. On 13 September a climber observed a sulfatara plume rising from the bottom of the crater as high as 50 m above the crater rim. During 14-18 September four earthquakes centered around Agung were felt. On 18 September PVMBG reported that the number of VA and VB events continued to increase; the Alert Level was increased to 3. The exclusion zone was increased to 6 km, with an additional expansion to 7.5 km in the N, SE, and SSW directions. Elevations above 950 m were also restricted.
A VEI 5 eruption during 1963-64 produced pyroclastic flows and lahars that caused extensive damage and resulted in more than 1,100 deaths.

Dieng Volcanic Complex | Central Java (Indonesia)
PVMBG reported that during 8 July-14 September measurements indicated an increase in water temperature at Sileri Crater lake (Dieng Volcanic Complex) from 90.7 to 93.5 degrees Celsius. Soil temperatures also increased, from 58.6 to 69.4 degrees Celsius. At Timbang Crater temperatures in the lake increased from 57.3 to 62.7, and in the soil they decreased from 18.6 to 17.2. The report noted that conditions at Timbang Crater were normal. Temperature increases at Sileri, along with tremor detected during 13-14 September, prompted PVMBG to raise the Alert Level to 2 (on a scale of 1-4). PVMBG warned the public to stay at least 1 km away from the crater rim, and for residents living within that radius to evacuate.

Zhupanovsky | Eastern Kamchatka (Russia)
Based on visual observations, KVERT reported that on 17 September explosions at Zhupanovsky generated gas-and-steam plumes with small amounts of ash that rose to altitudes of 6-7 km (19,700-23,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted 20 km SW. The Aviation Color Code was raised from Green to Orange, the second highest level on a 4-color scale. About 30 minutes later satellite images showed ash plumes drifting 10 km E. Later that day gas-and-steam plumes rose 4 km (13,100 ft) a.s.l. The Aviation Color Code was lowered to Yellow, and then on 20 September it was lowered to Green.

Information provided by Smithsonian GVP Weekly Volcanic Activity Report

September 23, 2017