Volcano news - Archive Nr. 13

For the latest part of this report - Click here

Reventador, Ecuador (Philippa)
Explosive eruptions continue at El Reventador volcano. The video (below), filmed on 24 October 2017, shows one such eruption, including a shock wave, ash plume, ballistic projectiles ,and small pyroclastic density currents (PDCs).

via Benjamin Bernard and Marco Almeida / Volcanes Ecuador / YouTube


Kilauea, Hawaii, USA (Philippa)
With love from Big Island, Hawaii - the active lava lake within Halema`uma`u Crater

via USGS (@usgs)

Popocatepetl, Mexico (Philippa)
Images from two different explosive eruptions during the past 24 hours at Popocatepetl volcano.

via Sky Alert (@SkyAlertMX) / www.webcamsdemexico.com

Screen Shot 2017-11-05 at 22.19.25

via Hugo Delgado Granados

Screen Shot 2017-11-05 at 22.23.17

Gorely volcano, Kamchatka, Russia (Philippa)
Although a fantastic image (below) of Gorely, no photo can do the stunning views from the edges of its craters justice.

If you study geoscience or need to take a geoscience class towards your degree, check out the University of Alaska Fairbanks International Volcanology Summer School, which, weather permitting, includes a 32 km / 20 mile round day hike to the summit of Gorely from the base camp.

via Roberto C. Lopez (@Bromotengger)

Screen Shot 2017-11-05 at 22.35.05

Tolbachik, Kamchatka, Russia (Philippa)
A historic image (2013? 2014?) of one of the volcanologists taking a sample of fresh lava during field work at Tolbachik.

via Ben Edwards (@lava_ice)

Screen Shot 2017-11-06 at 00.14.22


Villarica, Chile (Philippa)
That unexpected moment whilst on field work on a glacier at Villarica volcano, and you discover a plane wreck. This propeller is possibly from the 4-seater Cessna 172S Skyhawk, which was reported in January of this year (Aviation Safety Network - #192973).

Via Ben Edwards (@lava_ice)

Screen Shot 2017-11-05 at 22.55.39

Osorno volcano, Chile (Philippa)
The view of Osorno volcano from the city of Puerto Varas has barely changed in the 78 years since this photo was taken.

via Alberto Sironvalle (@albOblack)

Screen Shot 2017-11-05 at 23.52.18

Pacaya, Guatemala (Philippa)
A small team of British volcanologists (University of Cambridge) are currently at Pacaya volcano testing some new, drone-mounted airborne volcanic gas sensors.

via Emma Liu (@EmmaLiu31) / @airgraph_devs

Screen Shot 2017-11-06 at 00.37.40


Volcan de Fuego, Guatemala (Philippa)
Images from the past 24 hours at Fuego.

Via Gustavo Chigna (@gchigna)

Screen Shot 2017-11-05 at 23.41.10


Iceland (Philippa)
A brand new interactive website called Catalogue of Icelandic Volcanoes has just been launched. The site features all 32 active volcanic systems of the country, and has been compiled by experts from the Icelandic Meteorological Office, which is the official volcano monitoring agency for Iceland, the University of Iceland's Institute of Earth Sciences, Civil Protection and others. The site has been established as part of the GOSVA and FUTURE VOLC projects on integrated volcanic risk assessment, and aims to provide an official, accurate, and up-to-date source of information on Iceland's volcanoes, including Hekla and Krafla.

Catalogue of Icelandic Volcanoes

Hoodoo Mountain (and others), Canada (Philippa)
Did you know that there are 18 dormant volcanoes and underwater volcanic mounts in British Columbia, Canada, including Hoodoo Mountain? The web link below explains:

British Columbia's 18 Sleeping Volcanoes

via @nochedevolcanes

Screen Shot 2017-11-06 at 00.27.21

November 6, 2017

Weekly Volcanic Activity Report: 25-31 October 2017

via Smithsonian Institution - Global Volcanism Program / US Geological Survey

Screen Shot 2017-11-04 at 23.15.18

Agung | Bali, Indonesia
On 29 October (monitoring agency) PVMBG lowered the Alert level for Agung to 3 (on a scale of 1-4), noting a decline in activity, especially since 20 October. The thermal anomaly in the crater identified in satellite data was less intense in October than in September. Beginning 20 October GPS data showed a slower deformation rate. Seismic signals decreased in number and amplitude, though low-frequency events continued to indicate magma movement. White fumarolic plumes rose as high as 500 m above the crater rim during 20-29 October, a comparison of video taken by drones on 20 and 29 October showed a relative decrease in the intensity of fumarolic emissions. (Disaster management agency) BNPB stated that, despite the decreased Alert Level, the exclusion zones remained intact (at 6 km, and an additional expansion to 7.5 km in the NNE, SE, S, and SW directions). The number of evacuees was 133,457 (spread out in 385 shelters).

via PVMBG and BNPB

Aoba | Vanuatu
Based on analyses of satellite imagery and model data, the Wellington Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC) reported that on 29 October ash plumes from Aoba rose 6.1 km (20,000 ft.) above sea level and drifted S and SE.

via Wellington Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC)

Kirishimayama | Kyushu, Japan
The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) reported that during 25-31 October activity at Shinmoedake (Shinmoe peak), a stratovolcano of the Kirishimayama volcano group, continued to be slightly elevated. White plumes rose 100-500 m above the crater rim, though weather clouds sometimes prevented visual observations. Almost daily field surveys revealed no particular changes in the fumarolic and fissure areas near the cracks on the W flank of Shinmoedake, nor to the thermally anomalous zone below the crack. Sulfur dioxide fluxes were as high as 200 tons/day. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a scale of 1-5).

via Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA)

Sarychev Peak | Matua Island, Russia
SVERT reported that a thermal anomaly over Sarychev Peak was identified in satellite images on 29 October. Weather clouds prevented observations on the other days during 24-30 October. The Aviation Color Code remained at Green.

via Sakhalin Volcanic Eruption Response Team (SVERT)

Tinakula | Solomon Islands
Based on satellite data and information from ground-based observers, the Wellington VAAC reported that during 25 October and the early part of 26 October a low-level eruption at Tinakula was ongoing. Ash emission rose 2.1 km (7,000 ft.) above sea level and drifted S and SE. A news article from 1 November noted that significant ashfall had covered crops, and the water supplies for an estimated 11,500 people had been contaminated.

via Radio New Zealand, Wellington Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC)

November 5, 2017

Spotlight on...(volcanologist) Sergey Samoylenko, Kamchatka, Russia (Philippa)
The video below (in Russian) provides a fantastic visual backdrop to the volcanoes in Kamchatka. A spotlight on Sergey Samoylenko (Institute of Volcanology and Seismology), who this year in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky opened Vulkanarium** - Russia's first volcano museum.

** Vulkanarium, Klyuchevskaya St. 34, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, Kamchatka, Russia.

via Yandex (http://www.yandex.ru)

Sergey is not only highly-knowledgeable about all things volcano- and earthquake related, but also speaks excellent English, so he is a great person to learn from.

Teneguia volcano, La Palma, Canary Islands (Philippa)
Did you know that volcanic soils are great for growing grapes from which to make wine?

Wine: why volcanic wines may blow your mind (The Guardian)

One such grape-growing region is Fuencaliente on the southern tip of La Palma. This month marks the 46th anniversary of the Teneguia volcano eruption, characterised by lava fountaining, which made the soils here so fertile.

via Noche de Volcanes (@nochedevolcanes)

Teneguia eruption winery La Palma nochedevolcanes

via Miguel Bravo / YouTube

Merapi, Java, Indonesia (Philippa)
This week marks the 7 year anniversary of the explosive eruptions at Merapi volcano on the island of Java, in which 35 people died as a consequence of pyroclastic density currents [PDCs] (avalanches of hot volcanic gases, ash, and rocks, which fall out of an eruption column).

via Katie Preece (@KatieJPreece)

Merapi Katie Preece

Because the tephra (fall-out from the eruption columns) deposited volcanic material in valleys around Merapi, subsequent PDCs were able to flow further and further away from the summit each time, eventually reaching distances of around 8 km. Heavy rainfall later remobilised ash fall as lahars (mud and debris flows), causing further damage and destruction to surrounding villages.

via Philippa Demonte (@fLip_uk) - a house in the hamlet of Bakalan, which was destroyed by a PDC during one of Merapi's explosive eruptions in 2010


In the years since the 2010 eruption of Merapi, evacuees have since moved to resettlement villages elsewhere, and SABO dams have been engineered and built in upstream areas of the volcano to dissipate the energy of any future lahars.

via Philippa Demonte (@fLip_uk) - one of the SABO dams built on the flanks of Merapi


November 1, 2017

How to dress like a volcanologist for Halloween (Philippa)
This is maybe more for those of you in North America, where Halloween (31st October) involves parties and costumes. Here the U.S. Geological Survey show you how to dress like a volcanologist.

via USGS Volcanoes (@USGSVolcanoes)

Screen Shot 2017-10-31 at 11.08.44

I have to point out though that these green, flame retardant flight suits, flame retardant gloves, and the white helmets are specifically for fieldwork that involves getting to remote locations via helicopter (and this I know, because I had to take a half day's worth of flight safety training courses and then wear this exact kit for fieldwork via helicopter with the USGS's Hawaiian Volcano Observatory Kilauea team!)

When I was based at Montserrat Volcano Observatory in the Eastern Caribbean, we instead wore orange, flame retardant overalls for fieldwork, as this colour was easier for our helicopter pilot to see against landscape of Soufriere Hills Volcano. These particular overalls also have flame retardant hoods and cuffs, so that if the volcano suddenly erupts and generates a pyroclastic density current, the volcanologists can protect as much of their skin as possible if caught at the edge of a flow. (If caught in the middle of a PDC, chances of survival would be nil due to suffocation from inhalation of hot volcanic gases and instant muscle paralysis from the heat, as seen at Pompeii)

via Philippa Demonte (@fLip_uk) - setting up a temporary GPS station on Soufriere Hills Volcano

Screen Shot 2017-10-31 at 11.22.43

For fieldwork via car or hiking the usual kit would be leather boots, pure cotton jeans or other trousers made of non-man-made fibres, leather gloves (if working on active lava flow fields), jacket/top. If working near to an active vent or somewhere with an overhang, such as near a crater wall, volcanologists would additionally wear a climbing helmet or fireman's helmet with neck guard, and a gas mask.

Mount Agung, Bali, Indonesia (Philippa)
As reported previously, although the Volcano Alert Level has been lowered from 4 to 3 and likewise the Aviation Alert Level lowered from Orange to Yellow, there is still some seismic, deformation, and degassing activity occurring at Mount Agung on the Indonesian island of Bali. See the drone footage below.

via Radio Bali FM 98.9 (@radiobalifm) / PVMBG

Screen Shot 2017-10-31 at 10.12.42

Drone footage from 29 October 2019 - via MAGMA Indonesia (@id_magma)

BNPB (Indonesian agency responsible for disaster response) have reported that over 90,000 of the 130,000+ people currently in evacuation centres around Bali will be allowed to return to their homes. Only those who are from 6 villages within the revised exclusion zones around Mount Agung will need to remain in the evacuation centres whilst the situation continues to be monitored.

Öræfajökull volcano, Iceland (Philippa)
One to watch - Öræfajökull, which is the highest volcano on Iceland, has shown some anomalous (unusual) activity this past week, including 14 earthquakes up to M2.2 from depths of 6.3 km to shallow depths within a period of 48 hours. The volcano, which is covered by the Vatnajökull glacier, has only previously erupted twice in living history: explosively in 1362, and then smaller eruptions between 1727-28. The surround area is sparcely populated, and the few fatalities which occurred during Öræfajökull's eruptions were due to the melting of the glacier causing jökullhlaup (glacial outburst floods).

The images below show: (left) map with the location of the volcano-related earthquakes from this week; (right top) timeline showing the occurrence of the earthquakes and approximate depth and magnitude; (volcanologist) Dave McGarvie; Öræfajökull volcano.

via Dave McGarvie (@subglacial)

Screen Shot 2017-10-31 at 10.32.11

Volcano photos and webcam shots, World (Philippa)
Below are some of the best photos and webcam shots acquired at volcanoes over the past few days:

Mount Etna | Sicily, Italy

via Boris Behncke (@etnaboris) - view from a volcanologist's kitchen window

Screen Shot 2017-10-31 at 10.46.02

Sakurajima volcano | Kagoshima prefecture, Kyushu, Japan

Mike Ross (@eruptionchaser) was lucky enough to capture this shot of Sakurajima volcano just as it erupted. The webcam got covered in a mix of volcanic ash and rain.

Screen Shot 2017-10-31 at 10.47.53

Mount Taranaki | North Island, New Zealand
Fun fact: did you know that Mount Taranaki was once used as a 'double' for Mount Fuji in Japan in the Tom Cruise movie 'The Last Samurai'? No, us neither. This week, though, Taranaki has been the location for a workshop between the local petroleum industry and volcanologists to discuss contingency plans for potential future 'What if...?' scenarios.

via Brad Scott (@Eruptn)

Screen Shot 2017-10-31 at 10.51.24

Mount Fuji | Japan
Following on from the Mount Taranaki post, here is what the real Mount Fuji looks like.

via Mar Gomez (@MarGomezH)

Screen Shot 2017-10-31 at 10.57.16

Cumbre Viejo | La Palma, Canary Islands

Geoscience interns doing gas geochemistry surveying on the island of La Palma.

via INVOLCAN (@involcan)

Screen Shot 2017-10-31 at 11.02.34

October 31, 2017

IMPORTANT UPDATE: Mt. Agung, Bali, Indonesia (Philippa)
An official press release (in Bahasa Indonesian) has just been released via the MAGMA Indonesia website stating that the Alert Level for Mount Agung, which is located on the east side of the island of Bali, is being reduced from Level 4 (the highest alert level) to 3.

The extent of the exclusion zones around Mount Agung are also being reduced from 9 km and 12** km to 6 km and 7.5** km respectively.

** The extended section of the exclusion zone relates to areas in the North-Northeast and SouthEast-South-SouthWest directions from the summit of the volcano.

via Hakon E Gustavsen (image taken 29 October 2017) / Oystein L Andersen (@OysteinLAnderse)

Agung 29Oct2017 Hakon E Gustavsen

The change in status, which is partly informed by the observations from (monitoring agency) PVMBG's post in Rendang, and partly by the cost of the current evacuation, was decided after discussions regarding a marginal decline in both the number of volcano-seismic events and their amplitude, although still high compared to background levels from earlier this year, and a slight decrease in the amount of (water vapor) emissions from fumaroles (steam vents) within the summit crater. The latter has been based on a comparison of visual observations using drones on 20th October and 29th October and the ASTER TIR Satellite thermal anomaly imagery.

Nevertheless, PVMBG would like to emphasise that: "Although the status of Mount Agung volcano activity has been lowered to Level III (Siaga), it should be understood that the activity has not abated completely and still has the potential to erupt."

PVMBG reiterate that local communities from around Mount Agung, climbers, visitors, and tourists should not attempt to climb the summit, nor do any activities within the exclusion zones*** around the volcano.

via Hakon E. Gustavsen (image taken 28 October 2017) / Oystein L Andersen (@OysteinLAnderse)

Agung 28Oct2017 Hakon E Gustavsen

*** NOTE: The main tourist areas of Bali are along the southern and western coast, which is no-where near the location of this volcano on the east of the island. All tourist areas on the island, other than one of the temples which is located within the exclusion zone, are fine to visit.

The areas on eastern Bali affected by the revised exclusion zones include the following:

Br. Br. Belong, Pucang, and Pengalusan (Desa Ban);
Dusun Br. Badeg Kelodan, Central Badeg, Badegdukuh, Telunbuana, Pura, Over and Sogra (Sebudi Village);

Dusun Br. Kesimpar, Kidulingkreteg, Putung, Temukus, Besakih and Jugul (Besakih Village);
Dusun Br. Bukitpaon and Tanaharon (Desa Buana Giri);
Dusun Br. Yehkori, Untalan, Galih and Pesagi (Jungutan Village):
...and some areas of Dukuh Village.

Over 130,000 residents displaced from the east of Bali are currently based at 138 evacuation centres on the island. Due to the organisation and remobilisation efforts that will be required to allow people (and livestock!) from outside the revised exclusion zones to return home, the evacuation status has been extended until 9th November.

Several other measures from the original evacuation will also remain in place despite the lowering of the alert level for Mount Agung. These include:

  • the additional communication links and early warning systems that have been installed on the east of Bali during the past month
  • the MAGMA Indonesia website (which includes a map, real-time seismogram, and a page for official press releases), which can be accessed either via https://magma.vis.esdm.go.id ...or via the Google Play Android app
  • WhatsApp Group - for local residents to report any relevant visual observations and for fast notification via mobile phone if and when Mount Agung does erupt
  • recommendations for residents to carry surgical face masks, so that they do not breathe in any volcanic ash in the event of an explosive eruption at Mount Agung
  • contingency plans put in place by the Indonesian Minister of Transport for the airports, ports, and buses in the event of an eruption at Mount Agung

Updates and amendments will be issued via the MAGMA Indonesia website as and when any further changes occur to Mount Agung's activity.

via Sutopo Purwo Nugroho (@Sutopo_BNPB)

Agung Sutopo Purwo Nugroho


Weekly Volcanic Activity Report: 18-24 October 2017

via Smithsonian Institution - Global Volcanism Program / US Geological Survey

Screen Shot 2017-10-29 at 11.52.49

Agung | Bali, Indonesia
(Monitoring agency) PVMBG reported that although foggy conditions at Agung occasionally prevented visual observations, during 18-24 October dense white plumes were seen rising as high as 500 m above the crater rim. Seismicity fluctuated but remained high, though (Indonesian National Disaster Management Authority) BNPB reported that overall seismicity had decreased. According to BNPB a team launched a drone on 19 October and were able to capture video of the fumarolic emissions from several vents and cracks in the crater. The Alert Level remained at 4 (the highest level on a scale of 1-4) with the exclusion zone at 9km, and an additional expansion to 12 km in the SE, S, and SW directions.

Aoba | Vanuatu
According to a news article posted on 20 October, residents that had evacuated from Aoba after the eruption from a vent in Lake Voui were returning home. Based on analyses of satellite imagery and model data, the Wellington VAAC (Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre) reported that during 22-23 October intermittent events generated low-level ash plumes that rose 2.4-3.7 km (8,000-12,000 ft) above sea level and drifted eastwards.

Kirishima | Kyushu, Japan
(Japan Meteorological Agency) JMA reported that the eruption at Shinmoe-dake (Shinmoe peak), a stratovolcano of the Kirishimayama volcano group, began on 11 October and lasted almost continuously until the morning of 17 October. The eruption plume usually rose several hundred meters about the crater rim, though on 14 October the plume rose as high as 2.3 km. Sulfur dioxide flux exceeding 10,000 tons/day was also recorded. Cloudy weather conditions prevented webcam views during 19-20 October. Plumes rose 200-600 m on 21, 23, and 24 October. During an overflight on 24 October scientists observed a white plume rising from the active vent on the east side of the crater, and puddles in multiple low areas of the crater. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a scale of 1-5).

Tinakula | Solomon Islands
Based on satellite data, the Wellington VAAC reported that an eruption at Tinakula began around 06:20 on 21 October, producing a sulfur dioxide signature, and an ash plume that rose to an altitude of 4.6 km (15,000 ft.) above sea level and drifted northwards. Another eruption at 10:40 generated an ash plume that rose significantly higher than the first, to an altitude of 10.7 km (35,000 ft.) above sea level and drifted SE. Later that day ash plumes rose to 6.1 km (20,000 ft.) above sea level. Ash emissions continued through at least 24 October, rising to altitudes of 3.0-3.7 km (10,000-12,000 ft.) above sea level and drifting E and W on 22 October, 2.4 km (8,000 ft.) above sea level and drifting S and SE on 23 October, and 1.8 km (6,000 ft.) above sea level with a SW drift on 24 October. A news article from 24 October stated that water supplies in the Reef Islands had been contaminated with ash fall, and that ash fall was also reported in Fenualoa, and likely in Nupani.

October 29, 2017

Tinakula volcano, Solomon Islands

Screen Shot 2017-10-24 at 23.21.44

POLICE at Lata in the Temotu Province are monitoring the situation in the province after the Tinakula volcano erupted on Saturday 21 October with the wind carrying ash to the nearby islands. “Police successfully rescued three people from Tinakula after receiving a report in the early hours of Saturday that the volcano had erupted,” Provincial Police Commander Temotu, Frank Menesa said. “The three people were reported to have gone to the island, which is uninhabited, to visit their gardens and pigs,” he added.
“Another team consisting of police and agriculture officers visited the island again on Monday 23 October basically to monitor the volcano and check on the 30-strong population on the nearby island of Niupani requesting them to take precautions,” Mr Menesa said. He stated authorities in Lata are continuing to monitor the situation and have advised people on Santa Cruz and the Reef Islands to be careful as the islands’ drinking water has been affected by the ash from the volcano.

UPDATE: The article above (posted by Armand) is via Jeannie Curtis (@VolcanoJeannie) / Solomon Star newspaper, and the photo is via Luke Lapoe (MET Officer) at LATA.

Article: Geohazards explain why and how to monitor volcanoes (Philippa)
The article (at the link below), which came out in the Vanuatu Daily Post, provides a very simplified overview of how volcanoes on Vanuatu (and at most locations around the world) are monitored.

Vanuatu Daily Post - Geohazards explain why and how to monitor volcanoes

via Brad Scott (@Eruptn)

Screen Shot 2017-10-25 at 09.22.43

Seismic monitoring will always give the first indication of a volcano's activity pre-eruption, i.e. detecting , analysing, and identifying the pressure waves generated in the ground from magma breaking through the surrounding rock (volcano-tectonic events - VTs), volcanic gases resonating in cracks and conduits at shallower depths (long period events - LPs), and then emissions during eruption (volcanic tremor), plus other seismic signals, including local and regional tectonic activity, and 'noise' (ranging from electrical noise within the equipment itself to external noise such as vibrations from road traffic).

The two images above show (inset) the top of a seismometer and (larger image) all the other equipment required with a seismometer, including batteries / power and telemetry to get the data from the seismometer back to a montoring centre.

Ideally there need to be at least three seismometers, if not more, located around a volcano in order to determine 1) what is noise and what is genuine signal, and 2) the hypocenter, i.e. location (x,y,z coordinates underground) of each volcano seismic event. By doing this over time a volcano observatory can then track the movement of magma underground prior to eruption.

The article is correct in stating that visual observations are also important. Webcams are useful, except when a volcano is shrouded by (rain) clouds, and getting out onto a volcano inbetween major eruptions in order to investigate the geology is vital for producing up-to-date hazard maps. However, I would also add to that the deformation and volcanic gas monitoring that observatories do, not to mention other geophysical surveying methods and infrasound monitoring, the latter of which is particularly useful for confirming the occurrence of eruptions if they happen at night time or in other low-visibility conditions.

Yasur, Tanna Island, Vanuatu (Philippa)
Following on from the article above, here is an example of some direct visual observations made at Yasur volcano, which has Strombolian-style eruptions.

via Benjamin Simons (@dread_rocks)

Sabancaya, Peru (Philippa)
Here at Earthquake-Report.com we have only ever viewed Sabancaya's eruptions via the OVI-INGEMMET webcam. We have not (yet) had the opportunity to actually go to Peru. However, here for the first time is some video footage of one of Sabancaya's eruptions as seen from the city of Arequipa. We have to admit that from the webcam alone we did not realise just how close to a large population of people this volcano is!

via OVI-INGEMMET (@oviingemmet) / Carolina Peralta

Mount Agung, Bali, Indonesia (Philippa)
The image (below) was taken earlier today and shows a steady (water vapor) plume from the summit crater of Mount Agung + meteorological cloud.

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

Screen Shot 2017-10-25 at 10.01.06

The volcano still has not yet erupted. Although volcano-seismicity has declined since last week, levels are nevertheless greater than background levels from earlier this year. Together with the (water vapor) plumes from fumaroles in the crater and deformation monitoring indicating that the volcano is in an inflation phase, all signs indicate that Mount Agung is active. The Alert Status therefore remains at Level 4 (the highest level).

Currently, 130,000 people from communities around the volcano on the east side of Bali are temporarily displaced in evacuation centres.

Mt. Sinabung, Sumatra, Indonesia (Philippa)
The images (below) of Mount Sinabung were taken yesterday (24 October 2017).

Sinabung has been erupting since 2013 and there is an exclusion zone around the summit due to the daily pyroclastic density currents (PDC - avalanches of hot volcanic gases, ash, and rock from the fall-out of an eruption plume). However, this first image shows exactly why many people in the communities just outside the exclusion zone remain: the soils around the flanks of this (and other volcanoes around the world) are fertile for agricultural farming. In the background: Sinabung mid-eruption with a PDC hurtling down one of the flanks. In the mid-ground: a potato farm. In the foreground: a family, who we are glad to see have face masks with them in order to avoid breathing in the ash fall. Even when Sinabung (eventually) stops erupting, the ash fall on roads and buildings will persist, potentially causing long-term respiratory problems.

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

Sinabung1 24Oct2017 Endro Lewa

The next image (below), also taken by photographer Endro Lewa, shows a smaller eruption at Sinabung from last night.

Sinabung2 Endro Lewa 24Oct2017

October 25, 2017

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


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

Important Agung volcano Bali, Indonesia information (Janine)
Here is a list of official resources for those in Bali, or planning on visiting Bali. This includes where to find official reports on the Agung volcano activity, travel advice, and how to prepare for the possibility of ashfall. This page will be updates as new information becomes available. Click here