Volcano news - Archive Nr. 15

For the latest part of this report - Click here

Mayon, The Philippines (Philippa)
The Philippines Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) have raised the alert for Mayon volcano to Level 4 following a further increase in eruptive activity.

Within the past 48 hours there have been simultaneous and alternating eruptive styles, including lava fountaining to heights of around 600 m above and ash-rich eruption plumes to altitudes of up to 10 km above sea level, followed by pyroclastic density currents (avalanches of hot volcanic gases, ash, and debris caused by the collapse of an eruption plume).

The video below (compiled from time-lapse images) shows the lava fountaining on 23 January sometime between 17:50-18:14 local time.

via PHIVOLCS - view from Mayon Volcano Observatory, Lignon Hill, Legazpi City, Albay

Here is the same lava fountaining episode filmed from a different angle by Yves Eli Yu

The video below, also taken from Mayon Volcano Observatory, shows the ash-rich eruption column from earlier the same day.


For any of you here who are from the Philippines and understand Tagalog, here is a video of the media briefing that PHIVOLCS gave when the eruption alert level was raised on 22 January:

The image below shows the ash-rich eruption plume from the eruption at 12:45 local time on 22 January, which caused PHIVOLCS to raise the alert level.

via Jaime S. Sinciocco (@jaimessinciocco)

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Current reports indicate that there are currently around 74,000 displaced people from around the volcano, who have evacuated to at least 66 emergency shelters in north-eastern Albay province. Based on previous eruptions of Mayon, it is estimated that the current eruptive activity could last for between 2-4 months. Local and national authorities are therefore looking into responsive action, including setting up temporary learning centres so that children may continue their schooling during this period, and measures for rescuing livestock.

In spite of the eruptive activity, there are no reports of any injuries. However, law enforcers are struggling to keep local inhabitants and tourists outside of the current exclusion zones around Mayon.

Historic eruption - Eldfell volcano, Heimaey, Iceland (Philippa)
This week marks the 45th anniversary of the eruption of Eldfell volcano, in which some incredible action by the Icelanders prevented lava flows from cutting off the main fishing harbour on the island of Heimaey.

The initial lava fountaining through a fissure (crack) in the ground, which followed 5,000 years of quiescence (period of non-eruption), built up to form a cinder cone. Little could be done to prevent over 300 homes being destroyed, but when extensive lava flows threatened to cut off the fishing harbour, quick-thinking fire crews used specialist pumps to hose sea water night and day onto the lava to quench (rapidly cool) it.

Video via YouTube / smiledtn40

Llaima volcano, Chile (Philippa)
Not an eruption, but nevertheless an impressive image of Llaima volcano, taken during a lightning storm on the morning of 20th January.

via Francisco Negroni (@Negronifoto)

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Lanin volcano, Chile / Argentina (Philippa)
Here at the Earthquake-Report.com we love it when our volcanology friends post images from their (scientific) fieldwork. The one below shows Lanin volcano from the Chilean side of the border.

via Dave McGarvie (@subglacial)

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Quizapu, Chile (Philippa)
Another set of volcanology fieldwork photos from the Chilean / Argentinian border, this time from Quizapu volcano, which has had some of South Americas biggest eruptions historically, including 5 cubic km of effusively-erupted lava flows in 1846 and 9 cubic km of explosively-erupted volcanic material in 1932.

via Mike Cassidy (@MikeVolc)

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Masaya, Nicaragua (Philippa)
More photos from scientific fieldwork on volcanoes, this time on Masaya in Nicaragua, where several British volcanologists are using infrared cameras to analyze the volcanic gas emissions: water vapor (H2o), carbon dioxide (CO2), sulphur dioxide (SO2), hydrochloric acid, and hydrogen fluoride (HF). Different volcanic gases exsolve from magma at different depths underground. Therefore the concentrations of these gas emissions and their relative ratios to each other provide one of the indications in volcano monitoring as to what is going on below ground.

via Matthew Varnam (@Volcano_Matt)

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Santiaguito, Guatemala (Philippa)
Santiaguito volcano seems to be THE place right now for volcanologists to visit for fieldwork. This is one of the most stunning images we have seen from there so far though. Aerial viewpoint from a drone.

via Felix Von Aulock (@pheeph on Instagram)

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Mount Moto-Shirane, Gunma Prefecture, Japan (Philippa)
One person died, 11 people were injured, and 80 people were left stranded at a ski resort following the sudden eruption of Mount Moto-Shirane (part of Kusatsu-Shirane volcano) earlier this week. The fatality and most seriously injured were military troops who were undergoing skiing training at the time when they were hit by volcanic ballistics (rocks thrown outwards by a volcanic eruption). Other injuries were incurred by people in a skiing gondola which was also hit by ballistics.

This particular eruption was phreatic, i.e. steam driven. Such explosive eruptions occur in locations where there is an interaction between hot volcanic rocks and cold water, including snow and ice-melt, causing the water to suddenly flash to steam.

Phreatic eruptions are notoriously difficult to both monitor and forecast since they tend to occur suddenly with few (if any) precursors. The Japanese Meteorology Agency has raised the volcano alert status for Mount Moto-Shirane to 3 (on a 5-level scale), and as a precaution the elderly, families with children, and other vulnerable people living in the vicinity have been told to prepare for potential evacuation.

video via Sankei News / Weather/Meteo World (@StormchaserUKEU)

Mount St. Helens, USA (Philippa)
Just posted by one of my former volcanology supervisors, the very awesome and knowledgeable Brittany Brand (Assistant Professor, Boise State University), the video (below) was produced during a field trip to Mount St Helens last summer. This field trip was part of the IAVCEI conference, which is like the Olympics of volcano research get-togethers. What is so great about this video, and the conference in general, is seeing undergraduate students mixing with
big-name researchers within the volcanology community, everyone being excited to be on Mount St. Helens, and learning from each other.

via YouTube / Boise State University

January 24, 2018

Mayon, The Philippines (Philippa)
Mayon volcano, one of the 6 most active volcanoes of the Philippines, continues to be in a state of unrest following the start of phreatic (steam-driven) eruptions, lava flows, and pyroclastic density currents (PDCs - avalanches of hot volcanic gases, ash, and rocks) last week.

The latest report issued today by the Philippines Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) reports effusive lava flows extending up to 3 km from the summit area, and several rock fall events, which are consistent with the deformation monitoring data, suggesting continued inflation of the volcano ediface and subsurface with new magma.

The images (below) were taken by PHIVOLCS during an aerial survey on 17 January. The first image shows degassing at the summit area (top right) and a small ash plume from a PDC along Miisi Gully (bottom left)

via PHIVOLCS-DOST (@phivolcs_dost) / (www.phivolcs.dost.gov.ph)

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In this video interview with Rappler, head of PHIVOLCS - Renato Soldum Jr. - talks about the volcanic hazards that can be generated by Mayon, including PDCs and ash fall, the risks that these hazards can pose to the local communities, and what people can do to prepare for potential evacuation scenarios.

via Rappler (@rapplerdotcom)

Below is the latest volcanic hazard map for Mayon, which shows the current exclusion zones around the volcano, and probability maps projecting the locations which could be at risk from PDCs, lava flows, and ash fall, based on the deposits from previous eruptions.

via Jaime S. Sincioco (@jaimessincioco) (apologies for the low resolution)

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This is what one of the lava dome and PDC events looked like from ground level on 15 January.

via Jaime S Sincioco (@jaimessincioco) / Al Francis Bichara (PHIVOLCS)

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PHIVOLCS currently have Mayon on Alert Level 3.

Volcanoes of central Java, Indonesia (Philippa)
Indonesia is made up of a chain of volcanic islands within the so-called Pacific 'Ring of Fire', and is the country with the most volcanoes in the world.

This beautiful image (below) shows not one, but three different volcanoes on the Indonesian island of Java: Sumbing, Sundoro, and Slamet. All three volcanoes are located near Merapi volcano, which has recently been showing possible signs of re-awakening.

via Sutopo Purwo Nugroho (@Sutopo_BNPB)

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Meanwhile, on the eastern side of Java is a volcano called Kelud, which erupted in 2014, leading to the evacuation of around 70,000 people. For those of you interested in disaster management, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho (PR manager at BNPB, which is the national disaster management agency for Indonesia) is currently writing a book on how this eruption was handled, but from the local communities' point of view rather than the official government line.

via Sutopo Purwo Nugroho (@Sutopo_BNPB)

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Sinabung, Sumatra, Indonesia (Philippa)
Cycles of lava dome formation and collapse continue at Sinabung volcano on the Indonesia island of Sumatra. The image (below) taken yesterday around 10.00 p.m. local time shows the incandescence (glow) that is visible from the current summit dome at night.

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

Sinabung 190118 2200 Endro Lewa

Mount Etna, Sicily, Italy (Philippa)
Latest view (below) of Mount Etna, as seen from the kitchen window of one of our friends at (Italian volcano monitoring agency) INGV in Catania, Sicily.

The white (vapour) plume emissions are from the Bocca Nuova crater (left of shot), whilst the smaller, grey ash plume (right of shot) emissions are from the 'puttusiddu' ('Little Hole') at the New Southeast Crater.

via Boris Behncke (@etnaboris)

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Weekly Volcanic Activity Report: 10 January - 16 January 2018
Via Smithsonian Institution - Global Volcanism Program / US Geological Survey

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Kadovar | Papua New Guinea
According to Brandon Buser, just after eruption plumes started rising from a vent on the SE side of Kadovar on 5 January boats from a village on the mainland (22 km SW) and from Bam (25 km E) were sent to the island to evacuate residents. The entire population of the island (about 500 people) according to a news article citing the Red Cross) was evacuated by the boats and numerous canoes to Blup Blup (15 km N). Activity escalated around midnight. The next day, at a distance of 65 km, Buser and others saw ash emissions rising from Kadovar, and at about 24 km away from the island they experienced ashfall. As they were circling the island a large event sent a large plume hundreds of feet into the air and ejected large boulders into the ocean. During another visit on 8 January Buser noted two new eruptive vents, ashfall covering everything on the village side, and wet falling ash.

Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO) reported that activity significantly escalated on 12 January characterized by a large blast of a substantial amount of material and 'big' glowing red rocks directed to the S; the report noted that the blast was the only one reported to date. Observers on Blup Blup saw incandescence emanating from either the summit or an area out of view on the S flank. Large amounts of sulfur dioxide had been detected since 8 January, and continued to be emitted. A fracture had previously been reported on 6 January extending from the summit to the coast. When seen on 12 January, the fracture was wider and vigorous steaming was occurring at sea level. Ash plumes drifted tens of kilometers W and NW. RVO noted that the displaced villagers were getting transferred to the mainland, along with islanders from Bam, due to the relatively close proximity to the eruption plus the logistics of supplying them.

Five newly-named vents were observed during an overflight conducted on 13 January; Main Crater, Western vent, and Southern vent (all three are at the summit), the SE Coastal vent, and the Southern Coastal vent. Sometimes voluminous steam and dense grey plumes rose 1 km above the Main Crater. The emissions obscured views of Southern and Western vents. The SE Coastal vent was very active, emitting dense white steam plumes 600 m above sea level. A possible lava dome was at the base of the plumes but showed no evidence of incandescence. The Southern Coastal Vent, located where the original fractures entered the sea, was inactive.

Mayon | Luzon (Philippines)
Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) reported that a phreatic (steam-driven) eruption at Mayon was detected at 16:21 on 13 January, generating an ash plume that rose 2.5 km and drifted SW. The seismic network recorded the event for 1 hour and 47 minutes. Trace amounts of ash fell in Barangays Anoling (4 km S), Sua (6 km SSW), Quirangay (6 km SSW), Tumpa (7 km SW), Ilawod (10 km SSW), and Salugan (9 km SSW) of Camalig, and in Barangays Tandarora (10 km SW), Maninila (18 km S), and Travesia (10 km SW) in Guinobatan. A sulfur odour was noted by residents of Camalig. Rumbling sounds were heard by residents in Anoling. The Alert Level was raised to 2 (on a 0-5 scale). Faint crater incandescence was first observed at 22:16. A phreatic eruption began at 08:49 on 14 January and lasted about five minutes, and another was detected at 11:43 and lasted 15 minutes. Steam-and-ash plumes from both events rose from the crater, but were mostly obscured by weather clouds. Anoling residents noted rumbling sounds and a sulfur odour, and minor amounts of ash fell in Camalig.

On 14 January PHIVOLCS raised the Alert Level to 3, noting a marked increase in activity characterized by three phreatic eruptions and 158 rockfall events between 16:21 on 13 January and 19:25 on 14 January. Bright crater incandescence was evident, signifying growth of a new lava dome and lava beginning to flow on the S flank. The report reminded residents to stay away from the 6 km radius Permanent Danger Zone (PDZ) and the 7 km Extended Danger Zone on the S flank.

Three collapses of material occurred on 15 January, producing rockfall or small-volume pyroclastic density currents. They were detected by the seismic network at 09:41, 10:05, and 11:07 and lasted five, seven, and eight minutes respectively. The first two events appeared to have been from collapses of the lava-front flow and generated ash plumes that drifted SW and ashfall in multiple Barangays including Travesia, Muladbucad Grande (8 km W), Maninila, and Masarawag (5 km W) of the Guinobatan municipality, and several Barangays in the Camalig municipality. An ash plume from the third event rose about 1 km above the crater and drifted WSW.

During 15-16 January the new lava dome in the summit crater continued to effuse. Lava flows advanced 2 km down the Miisi drainage (S), and a small-volume flow was emplaced on the upper slopes of the Bonga drainage (SSE). The seismic network recorded multiple events including short-duration lava fountaining, 75 lava-collapse events corresponding to rockfalls along the front and margins of advancing lava, and short pyroclastic flows in the Miisi drainage. Ash plumes from collapse events in the summit crater produced ash plumes that rose 2 km and caused ashfall in Camalig, Guinobatan, and Polangui.

Nevados de Chillan | Chile
Servicio Nacional de Geologia y Mineria (SERNAGEOMIN) Observatorio Volcanologico de Los Andes del Sur (OVDAS) reported that during an overflight of Nevados de Chillan's Volcan Arrau dome complex on 9 January scientists observed a new lava dome in the active central crater, corresponding to a new fissure first identified on 21 December 2017. Gas and water vapour rose from the fissure going across the dome surface, and the temperature of the surface was about 480 degrees Celcius. The Alert Level remained at Yellow, the middle level on a three-colour scale, and the public was reminded not to approach the craters within a 4 km radius.

San Miguel | El Salvador
Servicio Nacional de Estudios Territoriales (SNET) reported that at 16:53 on 14 January and 16:15 on 15 January gas-and-ash plumes from San Miguel rose no more than 300 m above the crater rim and dispersed SW. The report noted that prior to both emissions seismicity decreased and then suddenly increased.

January 20, 2018

Mayon, The Philippines (Philippa)
Further to yesterday's posing re: Mayon, this morning there has been a pyroclastic density current (avalanche of hot volcanic gases, ash, and debris). Inhabitants from within the 6 km exclusion zone are currently in the process of evacuating, and the Filippino Red Cross are making face masks available to impede the inhalation of volcanic ash.

via Ian Ron Bello (@iamianron)

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Stromboli, Aeolian Islands, Italy (Philippa)
A great shot (below) of (geoscientist) Professor Christopher Jackson who, following on from the BBC's 'Expedition Volcano' at Nyiragongo volcano, has this week been at Stromboli volcano filming a new tv programme. In the background - one of the active vents and the giant landslide scar of Sciara del Fuoco.

via Christopher Jackson (@seis_matters) / image by Freddie Claire (@frunkleton)

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January 16, 2018

Mayon, The Philippines (Philippa)
PHIVOLCS has this week raised the alert level at Mayon to 3 (increased tendency towards hazardous eruption), and recommended an exclusion zone of 6 km with an extension to 7 km in the south, following 3 phreatic (steam-driven) eruptions. Over 158 rock fall events have also been detected, which is often an indication of increasing seismicity near to the surface and inflation of a volcano from rising magma. PHIVOLCS confirm that there is a bright glow within the summit crater.

UPDATE: The latest photos via social media show what appears to be an eruption of lava from the crater this evening at Mayon.

via Strange Sounds (@Strange_Sounds)

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Mount Agung, Bali, Indonesia (Philippa)
Eruptions continue at Mount Agung on the east side of the island of Bali. The image (below) was taken at 07:23 a.m. today. Interestingly the plume is a mixture of emissions from two vents at the summit crater: one which is more open and predominantly steam-driven (the lighter colour), and one which has cycles of lava dome growth and failure, producing the greyer, more ash-rich part of the plume.

via Sutopo Purwo Nugroho (@Sutopo_BNPB)

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January 15, 2018

Mount Agung, Bali, Indonesia (Philippa)
Sporadic eruptions continue at Mount Agung on the east side of the Indonesian island of Bali. The footage (below) from 5:54 p.m. local time on 11 January shows a medium intensity, ash-rich eruption plume, which rose to an altitude of around 2.5 km above the crater rim. Ashfall was reported shortly afterwards in Kubu, Tulamben. The main international airport, which is on the south side of Bali, was unaffected, and remains open and operational.

via Sutopo Purwo Nugroho (@Sutopo_BNPB)

This image was taken around 5 minutes later from a different vantage point.

via Sutopo Purwo Nugroho (@Sutopo_BNPB)

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For any of you thinking of visiting Bali, it is perfectly safe to do so, but please DO NOT enter the exclusion zone, which is currently 6 km in all directions around Mount Agung.

Mount Merapi, Java, Indonesia (Philippa)
Mount Merapi has been showing signs of potential re-awakening. As reported here on Earthquake-Report.com, webcams have recently been installed at the summit area to increase monitoring efforts and strengthen the early warning system, as the major Javanese city of Yogyakarta lies in the vicinity of the volcano. During Merapi's last eruptive phase in 2010, 350,000 people had to be evacuated and 353 people died.

One of the people who died was Mbah Maridjan, a shaman and spiritual caretaker of Mount Merapi. His son, Asih (Bekel Suraksosihono), has inherited the role of the volcano caretaker, but interestingly, as a maths professor is more interested in science than in spiritualism.

The article (below) published in VOA News outlines how science and spiritualism are now coming together to help increase preparedness and resilience of those living around Merapi. Asih namely works together with (Indonesian volcano monitoring agency) PVMBG and the local government. In this way there is a symbiotic flow of information to the public which combines the scientific observations, but with local traditions and spirituality taken into consideration.

The article also outlines how a group of around 2,000 young volunteers have taken the initiative to be trained to do search and rescue upfront of any potential disaster. I met some of these people, many of them students at Gadjah Mada University, during the Cities On Volcanoes conference in Yogyakarta in 2014. They do sterling work, not just connected with Merapi volcano, but also with relief efforts for other 'natural' disasters in the region, particularly flooding, in helping to develop low-cost monitoring equipment, and in outreach activities with local communities.

VOA News - Indonesia fuses myth and science for volcano disaster management

via ctsnow / Flickr - view of Merapi from Borobudur (buddhist temple complex), near Yogyakarta, in 2006

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Popocatepetl, Mexico (Philippa)
This beautiful, clear image of Popocatepetl was taken via the webcam during an eruption on 10 January 2018.

via Volcan Popocatepetl (@Popocatepetl_MX) / webcamsdemexico.com

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Nevados de Chillan, Chile (Philippa)
Nevados de Chillan volcano remains on Yellow Alert. The image (below), which was taken on a thermal imaging camera during an overflight of the crater on 9 January, shows that a new lava dome is forming. The surface temperature of the hottest area (in white / yellow / orange colour) is around 480 degrees Celcius.

via SERNAGEOMIN (@sernageomin)

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Without the thermal imaging camera, this area just looks grey. The image below shows government officials with staff from SERNAGEOMIN, ONEMI (Chilean Civil Defense), and local fire crews on a reconnaissance of the Nevados de Chillan volcanic complex. This particular vantage point is 700 m away from the 4km exclusion zone around the lava dome.

via SERNAGEOMIN (@sernageomin)

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Nevados de Chillan is a popular resort for skiing in winter and for other outdoor pursuits in the summer, so OVDAS (volcano observatory for central Chile) are continuing to monitor this particular volcano 24/7 for any increased signs of unrest.

¿En qué consiste la vigilancia volcánica? - Chile (Philippa)
How do we monitor volcanoes? Below is a 1 minute video with our friend from SERNAGEOMIN (Chilean volcano monitoring agency), Alvaro Amigo**

** This man is a volcanology legend!

NOTE: This video is in Chilean Spanish, which is not so easy for a novice learner of Spanish, like me, to translate for you. Los Chileños hableis muy rapidemente!

via SERNAGEOMIN (@sernageomin) / El Desconcierto (@eldesconcierto)

Laguna del Maule volcanic complex, Chile (Philippa)
Several lucky volcanologists from around the world are currently visiting Laguna del Maule as part of an international conference. This complex has been the site for over 21 historic phreatic- (steam driven) and phreato-magmatic (water-magma interaction-driven) eruptions, probably more. We know this from the geological deposits, which include pumice and ignimbrites (volcanic ash and other debris, which is rapidly deposited by a pyroclastic density current).

The area is so large, that it has not yet been fully mapped and investigated. Certainly, when I was there for a few days in 2016 with volcanologists from SERNAGEOMIN, their Argentinian counterparts, the U.S. Geological Survey, and others, we were only able to cover a fraction of the area, some of which is only accesible by horseback or speed boat across the lake when it is not too windy. However, it is vital that this area is further investigated to determine its historic eruptions, as the lake is connected via rivers to towns, cities, and hydro-electric power stations, which could be affected by any future eruptions here.

via SERNAGEOMIN (@sernageomin)

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Volcano card games (Philippa)
Did you know that there are at least two card games featuring volcanoes?

Volcanoes Top Trumps was originally created as a fun outreach activity in school geography lessons, but has been enthusiastically taken up by adults too. I have found that they create a lot of excitement and unleash a competitive side in even the quietest of people!

Volcanoes Top Trumps features 30 volcanoes from around the world. During each round, participants compete by deciding which of 6 categories (Height, Unpredictability, Wow! Factor, Deadliness, Explosivity, and Devastation Potential) their chosen volcano card has the highest value in.

Volcanoes Top Trumps are available via the weblink below, and profits are ploughed back into volcano outreach activities as part of the STREVA (Strengthening Resilience in Volcanic Areas) project, which works with local communities around volcanoes in the Caribbean, Central- and South America.

Volcanoes Top Trumps

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The Historically Active Volcanoes of Alaska reference deck was designed by the Alaska Volcano Observatory back in 2009, when they realised that there are nearly 52 historically active volcanoes in the region. The cards feature photos and characteristics of each of these volcanoes.

For further information, see: Historically Active Volcanoes Of Alaska reference deck

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Incidentally, if you are on Twitter, keep an eye out for former Earthquake-Report.com scribe Dr Janine Krippner's #VolcanoCup, which she will be unleashing in February, starting with a preliminary round on the volcanoes of the U.S.

Weekly Volcanic Activity Report: 03 January - 09 January 2018
Via Smithsonian Institution - Global Volcanism Program / US Geological Survey

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Agung | Bali (Indonesia)
(Indonesian Disaster Management agency) BNPB reported that activity at Agung continued to fluctuate at a high level. Visual observations as well as seismic, deformation, and geochemistry data indicated that the eruption was continuing, though deformation in recent days showed a stagnant trend. As of the morning of 4 January BNPB noted that there were 70,610 evacuees spread out in 240 shelters. The exclusion zone was adjusted to 6 km in all directions that same day, allowing thousands of displaced people the option to return to their homes. An estimated 17,115 people in seven villages have residences within the 6-km-radius exclusion zone.

(Indonesian volcano monitoring agency) PVMBG reported that during 3-9 January grey-and-white plumes rose as high as 2 km above the crater rim and drifted in multiple directions. The Alert Level remained at 4 (on a scale of 1-4).

Kadovar | Papua New Guinea
The first confirmed historical eruption at Kadovar began around mid-day on 5 January, according to witnesses. The island is approximately 1.4 km in diameter with very steep slopes, located about 25 km NNE from the mouth of the Sepik River on the New Guinea mainland. The Rabaul Volcanological Observatory (RVO) warned of potential explosive activity, landslides, and resulting possible tsunamis.

Aerial photos and observations from Samaritan Air flights showed dark grey ash and steam plumes rising from a crater on the SE side of the summit. It was estimated that up to 60% of the island was covered in volcanic products, which primarily appeared to be ash along with some pyroclastic flows. Ashfall was reported on Kairiru and Mushu islands (115 km WNW), Mt. Uru in Yangoru (130 km W), and Woginara (140 km W), along with locations along the W coast of the Wewak District.

The NOAA/CIMSS Volcanic Cloud Monitoring system generated an alert for the ash cloud moving WNW, as imaged by (satellite) S-NPP VIIRS at 03:30 UTC on 5 January; Himawari-8 (satellite) imagery subsequently showed that the eruption began around 02:20 UTC. The Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC) issued a sequence of ash advisories starting on 5 January that noted ash moving W at an altitude of about 2.1 km (7,000 ft.) above sea level, and set the Aviation Colour Code to Orange. Both discrete eruptions and continuous on-going activity was seen in satellite imagery through 9 January, with the plume visible at distances of over 200 km W and WNW.

Although initial news reports regarding the population and evacuation status were unclear, the East Sepik Governor, Allan Bird, told media on 8 January that 591 residents of Kadovar had been evacuated to Blup Blup island (about 10 km N) due to the organized efforts of village councilors on the two islands.

RVO stated that during 7-8 January ash continued to be emitted, and blown tens of kilometers WNW.

January 13, 2018

Masaya, Nicaragua (Philippa)
The UNRESP project is currently working with local communities around Masaya volcano to build awareness and resilience to the environmental hazard of persistent volcanic emissions. The video (below) features the testimonials of several residents and how they have had to adapt to living in an area where there are constant emissions of noxious volcanic gases, even when the volcano is not erupting ash or lava.

via UNRESP (@unresp) / YouTube - VolFilm (in Spanish with English subtitles)

Kadovar, Papua New Guinea (Philippa)
Kadovar volcano this week erupted, possibly for the first time in living history. Previously there had only been hydrothermal (steam-driven) activity reported in 1976-1977, which caused discolouration of the surrounding sea, and again in 1981.

Aerial observations made yesterday (6 January 2018) by plane and today by satellite observations reported an eruption plume reaching an altitude of around 2.1 km / 7,000 ft. above sea level. The plume was initially hydrothermal in nature, but later became a darker grey and more ash-laden, with ash fall reported on neighbouring islands. It is unclear at this time though whether this ash is new material, i.e. newly-fragmented lava, or just 'throat clearing' of old ash being remobilised by the eruption plume.

There were around 500 inhabitants on this 2 km wide volcanic island, who have either self-evacuated or been evacuated.

via Strange Sounds (@Strange_Sounds) and Ricky Wobar via Facebook

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Mount Tambora, Sumbawa, Indonesia (Philippa)
This is possibly the strangest historical story related to volcanoes that we have heard in a while: how the 1815 eruption of Mount Tambora led to the invention of the Laufsmaschine, which became the fore-runner to the velocipede and modern-day bicycles.

This was the largest volcanic eruption in recorded human history. Due to ash particles being blasted up to the altitudes of stratospheric winds, which then carried the ash around the world and reflected sunlight, the world experienced a global freeze the following year. 1816 became known as 'the year without summer'. Knock-on effects included crop failure and famine, which meant that horses, the main mode of transport at that time, could no longer be fed.

Enter Baron Karl von Drais, who then invented the Laufsmaschine ('running machine) as a new form of transport.

via Ery Hughes (@PhDisaster) /Lloyd Alter (@lloydalter)

How the eruption of Mount Tambora 200 years ago led to the invention of the bicycle

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via Smithsonian.com

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Kilauea and Mauna Loa, Hawaii, USA (Philippa)
January is Volcano Awareness Month on Big Island, Hawaii. For any of you lucky enough to either live there or who are visiting, the following talks will be taking place this coming week:

  • 8 + 9 January at Lyman Museum: a presentation about the 1955 lower Puna eruption on Kilauea
  • 9 January at Hawaii National Park: a presentation about the current on-going eruption of Kilauea
  • 13 January at UH-Hilo: a 'talk-story' event focused on Mauna Loa volcano

Further details can be found at https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/hvo/

Meanwhile, in the latest weekly 'Volcano Watch' article, the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory have outlined additions and improvements to their active monitoring systems, including:

  • a new, higher definition thermal imaging camera overlooking the Halema`uma`u Crater vent at the summit of Kilauea volcano
  • a collaboration with researchers at the University of Cambridge to deploy a portable radar system to better track changes in the rise and fall of the lava lake in Halema`uma`u Crater vent. This will help inform the volcanologists about the dynamics of the lava lake circulation linked with the injection of new magma and volcanic degassing
  • a collaboration with the U.S. Geological Survey's Volcano Emissions Project, which prior to the onset of the current winter deployed a new multi-(volcanic) gas monitoring system with a meteorological (weather) station on Mauna Loa volcano. These two systems will be tracking changes in temperature, wind speed, and emissions of carbon dioxide, sulphur dioxide, water vapor, and hydrogen sulfide from a major fumarole (gas vent) on the volcano. These different volcanic gases are exsolved from magma at different depths from the surface. Therefore, any changes detected by these monitoring systems in the quantities and ratios between each of these gases emitted will provide an early indication of magma rising within Mauna Loa.

Below: screen shot from the new high-definition thermal imaging camera of the lava lake within Halema`uma`u Crater, Kilauea volcano. White, yellow and orange indicates hotter areas of the lava lake, whilst pinks, purples, and blues indicate cooler areas (see the scale on the right-hand side in degrees Celsius)

via Hawaiian Volcano Observatory / U.S. Geological Survey

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Mount St Helens, Washington State, USA (Philippa)
If you are female, in either the 7th or 8th grade of high school, or 10th-12th grade of high school, or are a middle school science teacher based in either Washington State or Oregon, then you are eligible to apply for the GeoGirls summer field camp on Mount St. Helens, which will be taking place between 29th July to 2nd August 2018. The deadline for applications is 3rd March 2018.

See the link below for details regarding how to apply:

GeoGirls summer field camp - Mount St Helens

via U.S. Geological Survey Volcanoes Facebook page (hyperlink above)

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Other volcano fieldwork opportunities that I can otherwise recommend for 2018 include:

Inform us of any other opportunities that you may know of, and we will post these here on Earthquake-Report.com

Barðubunga fissure, Iceland (Philippa)
The BBC recently did a repeat broadcast of the tv programme 'Natural World' episode on Iceland, which includes footage from the 1 1/2 km long 2015 Barðubunga fissure eruption on Vatnajökull glacier.

If you live in the UK, Ireland, or other country which has access to BBC iPlayer, the programme will be available to watch for the next 27 days via the hyperlink below.

BBC - Natural World - Episode 5. Iceland: Land of Ice and Fire

via BBC iplayer

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January 7, 2018

Sinabung, Sumatra, Indonesia (Philippa)
Looking somewhat 'calmer' than recently, the image (below) of Sinabung volcano was taken at 06:54 a.m. on 03 January 2018.

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

Sinabung 0301180654 Endro Lewa

Weekly Volcanic Activity Report: 27 December 2017 -02 January 2018
Via Smithsonian Institution - Global Volcanism Program / US Geological Survey

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Agung | Bali (Indonesia)
(Indonesian volcano monitoring agency) PVMBG reported that during 27 December 2017-2 January 2018 grey-and-white plumes rose as high as 2 km above Agung's crater rim and drifted W, SW, and E. Incandescence from the crater was often observed at night. Ash fell in several local villages including Badeg, Yeha, Temukus, Besakih (11 km WSW), and Muncan (12 km SW) on 1 January, and Rendang post on 2 January. The Alert Level remained at 4 (on a scale of 1-4), and the exclusion zones continued at a general 8 km radius and 10 km in the NNE, SE, S, and SW directions.

Bezymianny | Central Kamchatka (Russia)
On 29 December KVERT (Kamchatkan Volcano Emergency Response Team) reported that activity at Bezymianny was characterized by moderate gas-and-steam emissions, a lava flow likely continued to effuse onto the N flank of the lava dome. A thermal anomaly over the volcano was identified in satellite images. The Aviation Colour Colde was lowered to Yellow.

Kanlaon | Philippines
(Philippino volcano monitoring agency) PHIVOLCS reported that there were three or fewer volcanic earthquakes detected at Kanlaon each day during 27 December 2017-2 January 2018. Dense weather clouds prevented visual observations, though on 30 December a steam plume was seen rising 500 m above the crater rim and drifting SW. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 0-5).

Pacaya | Guatemala
(Guatemalan volcano monitoring agency) INSIVUMEH reported continuing Strombolian explosions at Pacaya's Mackenny cone during 31 December 2017-1 January 2018.

04 January 2018

Merapi, Java, Indonesia (Philippa)
As mentioned here yesterday on Earthquake-Report.com, (Indonesian volcano monitoring agency) PVMBG this week installed some new CCTV / webcams on Mount Merapi to augment their remote sensing capacities. Below is a lovely, clear image of the summit crater as observed from one of these new surveillance cameras.


Merapi 30Dec2017

Kanlaon volcano, Negros, The Philippines (Philippa)
As mentioned in the latest Smithsonian report (below), Kanlaon volcano on the Philippino island of Negros is currently on Alert Level 2. This is following low-energy phreatic (steam-driven) eruptions earlier this month, which dusted a thin layer of ash-fall on some areas of the island, and increased / variable levels of volcano seismicity.

via PHIVOLCS-DOST (@phivolcs_dost)

Below is an image of what the volcano looks like when not shrouded in cloud or in an eruptive state.

via Studphil

Kanlaon Philippines Studphil

In preparation for any potentially larger eruptions at the volcano, the Provincial Disaster Management Program Division, the Bureau of Fire Protection, the Office of the Civil Defense, the Philippine Army, the Philippine National Police, and other emergency response agencies have been conducting volcanic eruption simulations. These help to inform local residents of what to do, where to go, and when to go in the event of an eruption which requires evacuation. In turn, these simulations allow the monitoring agency PHIVOLCS and the above-named agencies to understand how the local residents may react in a true emergency situation, and to amend their response plans upfront of a large eruption.

The image (below) shows the participants from the volcanic eruption simulation, which took place at the Mambukal Mountain Resort on the island.

via Capitol / watchmendailyjournal.com

Mt Kanlaon eruption simulation exercise

Interestingly, people of the island of Negros are aware of folk tales, which tell of previous historic eruptions of the volcano. One of them is the legend of Harisaboqued of Mount Kanlaon, which relates back to a time when there were tobacco plantations on the fertile flanks. The story goes that Harisaboqued called a meeting of the local people, as he was about to go away for a long time. He told the people not to cross his boundary, else he would take away all the tobacco from the 'mountain' and smoke it. With that, Harisaboqued disappeard into the Earth.

A long time later, someone crossed over the boundary to plant tobacco on a barren piece of land at the top of the 'mountain'. The legend goes that when the tobacco was harvested, the ground shook and out jumped Harisaboqued from the Earth. People fled as 'smoke and flames' issued from a great hole, which had blown out the top of the mountain.

The full story can be read here (via @ztevetevans):
Philippine Folktales: The Legend of Harisaboqued of Mount Kanlaon (zteventevans)

Mount Etna, Sicily, Italy (Philippa)
The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)'s 2017: The Year In Science prominently features Mount Etna in Sicily in the first 10 minutes of the programme. (Click on the hyperlink below. NOTE: May only be accessible in countries in which the BBC broadcasts)

BBC - 2017: The Year In Science

via BBC News

Etna5 BBC News

As mentioned on Earthquake-Report.com back in January of this year, BBC Science corespondent Rebecca Morelle had gone to Etna with a camera team and one of the volcanologists from (monitoring agency) INGV to report on a ground-breaking new project within volcano monitoring (see image above). A group of tourists were also (independently) on the same part of the volcano taking photos of the slow-moving a'a lava flows which had started the night before. (see image below).

via BBC News

Etna tourists BBC News

Without warning, the activity on this particular flank of Etna suddenly changed from relatively effusive lava flows to an explosive, phreatic (steam-driven) eruption, causing everyone to flee as pyroclasts (hot rocks) rained down on them. This activity could not have been forecast from the volcano monitoring data, as phreatic eruptions are caused by water suddenly flashing to steam upon contact with hot rocks. Normally on volcanoes where there is both snow or ice and lava at the surface, the snow acts as an insulator. Therefore, for this type of eruption to have happened, there must have been a significant amount of (melted) water pooled just beneath the surface.

via BBC News

Etna1 BBC News

Etna2 BBC News

Several people were hit by flying pyroclasts, but amazingly everyone escaped with just cuts, bruises, and burns. In the image below, Rebecca shows the hole made in the back of the camerawoman's jacket when she was hit by a flying pyroclast during the eruption. Everyone was incredibly lucky, and the volcanologist said that this was the worst incident to have happened in the 30 years that he has been working at Etna.

via BBC News

Etna jacket

Weekly Volcanic Activity Report: 20 December-26 December 2017
Via Smithsonian Institution - Global Volcanism Program / US Geological Survey

Smithsonian report wc 25Dec2017

Agung | Bali (Indonesia)
(Indonesian volcano monitoring agency) PVMBG reported that during 20-26 December gray-and-white plumes rose as high as 2 km above Agung's crater rim and drifted W and E; weather clouds and fog sometimes prevented visual observations. Incandescence from the crater was sometimes observed at night. (Disaster Management agency) BNPB reported that during 22-23 December events generated dense gray ash plumes that rose as high as 2.5 km above the crater rim and drifted NE. Ash fell on the flanks and in Tulamben, Kubu. As of 25 December there were 71,045 evacuees spread out in 239 shelters. The Alert Level remained at 4 (on a scale of 1-4) and the exclusion zones continued at a general 8 km radius and 10 km in the NNE, SE, S, and SW directions.

Bezymianny | Central Kamchatka (Russia)
(Kamchatkan Volcanic Eruption Response Team) KVERT reported that ash plumes from the 20 December explosive eruption at Bezymianny rose as high as 15 km (49,200 ft.) above sea level and drifted 320 km NE. A thermal anomaly over the volcano was identified in satellite images during 21-22 December. The Aviaton Color Code remained at Orange.

Kanlaon | Philippines
(Philippino volcano monitoring agency) PHIVOLCS reported that during 19-20 December there were 412 volcanic earthquakes detected at Kanlaon. A low-energy, explosive-type earthquake was detected at 02:33 on 21 December associated with gas emissions from the summit area. Later in the day steam plumes rose 400 m and drifted NE. The number of daily volcanic earthquakes increased to 957 the next day and then decreased to less than 20 per day during 22-23 December; the daily count increased to 382 and 776 events on 24 and 25 December respectively, and then decreased to 82 on 26 December. White plumes rose 300 m and drifted NE, NW, and SW on 21 December, and 700 m on 26 December; weather clouds prevented views on the other days. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 0-5).

Klyuchevskoy | Central Kamchatka (Russia)
Based on satellite observations KVERT reported that gas-and-steam plumes from Klyuchevskoy contained some ash and drifted about 140 km E during 16-19 December. A weak thermal anomaly was visible on 16 December. The Aviation Color Code remained at Orange.

Pacaya | Guatemala
(Guatemalan volcano monitoring agency) INSIVUMEH reported that during 24-26 December Strombolian explosions at Pacaya's Mackenny cone ejected material as high as 50 m above the main cone. A 100-m-long lava flow on the W flank was visible.

December 30, 2017

Mount Agung, Bali, Indonesia (Philippa)
Footage shot by Russian tourists on the summit area of the active volcano Mount Agung has been circulating today on social media. We at Earthquake-Report.com and other reputable volcanologists refuse to re-post this footage. The actions of not only these tourists, but also previously by local shamen, not only endangered their own lives unnecessarily, but also those of the local authorities, with a knock-on effect in addition to the livelihoods of local people on Bali.

Any exclusion zone put in place by local authorities around an active volcano is there for a reason, namely to keep people away from hazards in order to minimize the risk of harm and possible death.

Even those who work in active volcano monitoring do not take unnecessary risks. Hence why in the case of Mount Agung (monitoring agency) PVMBG and (disaster management agency) BNPB have been using drones and satellite imagery to remotely observe the volcano's summit area from overhead, thus negating any suicidal need to venture in person to the crater. Other monitoring equipment, including seismometers, is able to remotely detect changes in the volcano's activity, particularly beneath the Earth's surface before any surface eruption occurs.

Mount Agung is still highly active and at alert level IV. However, the activity is currently localized at the volcano's location on the east side of the Indonesian island of Bali, with exclusion zones currently at 8 km around the volcano and extended to 10 km from the summit in the areas most at risk of lahars (fast flowing floods, containing remobilized ash fall) and pyroclastic density currents (PDCs - avalanches of hot volcanic gases, ash, and rocks due to the collapse of an eruption column). Tourist areas of Bali remain unaffected, and the main internation airport on the island is open as normal.

Mount Agung on 29 December 2017 - via Sutopo Purwo Nugroho (@Sutopo_BNPB)

Agung 291217 Sutopo Purwo Nugroho

Balinese wedding taking place as normal at a distance of 12 km from the summit area of Agung (in background of shot), i.e. outside of the current exclusion zones.

via I Ketut Bagiarta (@bagiartaketut)

Agung wedding

Sinabung, Sumatra, Indonesia (Philippa)
Sinabung volcano on the Indonesian island of Sumatra (different island to the location of Mount Agung!) continues to explosively erupt on a daily basis. The image (below) is from an eruption which occurred at 06:11 GMT, lasting ~435 seconds. The ash-rich eruption plume reached a height of around 4 km above the summit area. (Disaster Management agency) BNPB report that there were no fatalities and no additional evacuees from the area, as all activity occurred within the current 5 km exclusion zone around the volcano.

via Sutopo Purwo Nugroho (@Sutopo_BNPB)

Sinabung 291217 Sutopo

Mount Merapi, Java, Indonesia (Philippa)
Mount Merapi on the Indonesian island of Java (different island again from locations of Agung and Sinabung volcanoes) has recently been showing signs of possible re-awakening. A detected increase in volcano seismicity above background levels is the first indication.

For this reason, technicians from (Indonesian volcano monitoring agency) PVMBG have today installed a network of CCTV cameras / webcams in order to better remotely observe Mount Merapi for any potential future surface activity.

Mount Merapi is located in the vicinity of the Javanese city of Yogyakarta (population ~389,000 people), which is primarily affected by the volcanic gases and ash fall during eruptions. Several villages and small towns nearer to the summit area were destroyed by lahars and pyroclastic density currents (PDCs) following explosive eruptions in late 2010. New resettlement villages and SABOs, a series of dams and channels engineered to dissipate the energy of lahars along their most likely flow routes, have been built since that time.

via Sutopo Purwo Nugroho (@Sutopo_BNPB)

Merapi webcams

One of the SABO dams, which was being built in the vicinity of Mount Merapi in 2014 - via Philippa Demonte (@fLip_uk)

SABO near Merapi 2014

Bacalan was one of the small villages which was destroyed by pyroclastic density currents (PDCs) and ash fall during Merapi's 2010 eruptions. The singed remains of this tree provide volcanologists with a useful indication of the flow direction of the PDCs. Information regarding the damage caused by previous eruptions can be applied as an over-layer in order to create a hazard map of the area upfront of future eruptions of Mount Merapi.

via Philippa Demonte (@fLip_uk)

PDC damage Bacalan near Merapi 2014

Salamas, Lombok, Indonesia (Philippa)
Thank you to my volcanologist friends in France for highlighting this tv programme, available for all to watch online. Le Mystérieux Volcan du Moyen Âge (ARTE TV) documents how scientists had been searching since the 1970s for the source of one of the biggest explosive eruptions of the past 10,000 years.

Le Mysterieux Volcan du Moyen Age (ARTE TV) (in French)

The event was first detected in ice cores, which were being examined and dated for periods of climate change. The evidence, including volcanic ash within the ice cores, showed that there had been a sudden cataclysmic event which upset the global climate towards the end of the Middle Ages in the 13th Century, but it was a total mystery as to which volcano was the source.

It was not until 2010 that two French volcanologists, Franck Lavigne and Jean-Christophe Komorowski, picked up the investigation baton and looked at all the evidence from scratch. Their research eventually led them to Salamas volcano on the Indonesian island of Lombok. From observations made using Google Earth they could see that the volcano has a large caldera, which is formed when the roof of a magma 'chamber' collapses after eruption. Its size indicates that this volcano could have been the source of an eruption on a similar magnitude to the 1815 eruption of Tambora (VEI 7) on one of the neighbouring Indonesian island.

Franck Lavigne

An expedition followed in order to investigate the geological features of Salamas and to take rock and ash samples for analysis. The image (below) shows the caldera formation.


This image (below) shows a site 25 km from the Salamas caldera. If you look very carefully (right hand side, below the greenery) you will just about be able to see Franck and Jean-Christophe against the backdrop of some massive ignimbrites, which are compacted rock and volcanic ash particles that have been rapidly deposited by historic pyroclastic density currents (PDCs).

Salamas ignimbrites

This is what the compacted pyroclastic material looks like up-close, a mixture of fragmented rock particles and volcanic ash.

pyroclastic material

The programme follows how the investigation has been pieced together thus far, but more evidence is still required. It is Franck's future hope to get archaeologists involved to see if there are any clues left from the local civilisations of that time.

Popocatepetl, Mexico (Philippa)
The gif (below) features the latest eruption at Popocatepetl volcano, which is located near to Mexico City.

via Webcams de Mexico (@webcamsdemexico)

December 29, 2017

Sinabung, Sumatra, Indonesia (Philippa)
Sinabung volcano on the Indonesian island of Sumatra has been having explosive eruptions on a daily basis for the past 4 years. Today there was a slightly larger than normal eruption at this volcano, with ash fall over several villages and pyroclastic density currents (PDCs - avalanches of hot volcanic gases, ash, and rocks) reaching run-out distances of between 3.5-4.6 km in an ESE direction

Thanks to the 5 km exclusion zone which has been in place for a while, no casualties were reported. However, with no indications of Sinabung's eruptive activity ending anytime soon, plans to permanently relocate 1,098 families from the area to a resettlement town with 348 housing units are going to be fast-tracked for March 2018.

Footage of Sinabung's eruption on 27 December 2017 via Sutopo Purwo Nugroho (@Sutopo_BNPB)

Image showing one of the ash-rich eruption plums at Sinabung via Ananda Nuzulia (via https://www.facebook.com/endrolewa)

Sinabung 27Dec2017 Ananda Nuzulia

Image showing pyroclastic density currents (PDCs) via Endro Lewa (https://www.facebook.com/endrolewa)

Sinabung 27Dec2017 Endro Lewa

Mount Agung, Bali, Indonesia (Philippa)
Mount Agung on the Indonesian island of Bali has been relatively 'quiet' today in terms of eruptive activity. However, the volcano seismicity remains relatively high, and inhabitants and tourists are reminded to stay out of the 8 km and 10 km exclusion zones around Agung, which is located on the east side of Bali. All other parts of Bali are otherwise safe to visit, and the main international airport on the island is currently operating as normal.

Any changes in Mount Agung's activity will be announced via the Press Release section of the MAGMA Indonesia website (https://magma.vsi.esdm.go.id/) and local authorities.

via Sutopo Purwo Nugroho (@Sutopo_BNPB)

Agung 271217 Sutopo_BNPB

December 27, 2017

Volan Pacaya, Antigua, Guatemala (Philippa)
(Guatemalan monitoring agency) INSIVUMEH have reported Strombolian-style eruptive activity at the Mackenney cone on Pacaya volcano for the past week. Ballistics from this vent have been reaching heights of ~100 m above this main cone. There have also been lava flows emitting from the flanks of the volcano.

via INSIVUMEH (www.insivumeh.gob.gt) / Sherine (@SherineFrance) / Mel Nearcz (mel_nearcz)


Popocatepetl, Mexico (Philippa)
The sped-up gif (below) shows the eruptive activity from around 11:20 local time yesterday (25 December) at Popocatepetl. The emissions from this eruption were mostly volcanic gases and water vapor together with a small amount of volcanic ash.

via Geol. Sergio Almazan (@chematierra) / www.webcamsdemexico.com

Mount Etna, Sicily, Italy (Philippa)
A great view of Mount Etna yesterday (25 December 2017) morning from the roof of the (monitoring agency) INGV Etna Volcano Observatory in Catania, Sicily.

via Boris Behncke (@etnaboris)

Etna 25Dec2017 Boris Behncke

Big Island, Hawaii, USA (Philippa)
The image below, taken from atop Hualalai volcano, shows Mauna Kea volcano on the left and Mauna Loa volcano on the right. All are shield volcanoes, which together with Kilauea volcano and Kohala volcano make up Big Island, Hawaii.

via Zoltan Sylvester (@zzsylvester)

Mauna Kea Mauna Loa Zoltan Sylvester

Historic eruption - Longquimay, Chile (Philippa)
During this month in 1988, Longquimay volcano erupted on its flanks forming Crater Navidad (the Christmas Crater).

via Christian Geolascar (@Geolascar)

Longquimay 1988

December 26, 2017

Mount Agung, Bali, Indonesia (Philippa)
A Volcano Observatory Notification to Aviation was issued as a precaution earlier today following a more ash-rich eruption at Mount Agung at 10:05 a.m. local time. The video (below), recorded from the live webcam, shows the moment.

via MAGMA Indonesia (@id_magma)

The top of the ash plume reached about 2,500 m above the summit area / 5,600 m above sea level, and drifted thereafter in a north easterly direction, i.e. away from the island of Bali. (see map below)

via @vulkanologi_mbg

Bali 241217

The main international airport on the southern end of Bali was not affected and remains open.

Sinabung, Sumatra, Indonesia (Philippa)
The image (below) shows an ash-rich plume from earlier today at Sinabung on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. Sinabung has been having explosive eruptions on a daily basis for the past 4 years.

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

Sinabung 241217 Endro Lewa


Kilauea volcano, Big Island, Hawaii, USA (Philippa)
The latest video posted by the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) shows a break-out a'a-style lava flow at the base of the pali (slope) and coastal plain.

via USGS Volcanoes (https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/volcanoes/kilauea/)

Kilauea 21Dec2017 USGS HVO


Mount Taranaki, New Zealand (Philippa)
Mount Taranaki, a volcano on the North Island of New Zealand, has been granted the same legal rights as a person by the New Zealand government. The volcano, which last erupted in 1775, has significance for the Maori, who view it as an ancestor. In the landmark ruling, any human-generated damage caused to Mount Taranaki will be treated legally in the same way as any harm caused to the local tribes.

New Zealand gives Mount Taranaki same legal rights as a person (The Guardian)

Via GNS Science (@gnsscience)

Mount Taranaki GNS


Popocatepetl, Mexico (Philippa)
Feliz Navidad, Mexico! A view of Popocatepetl volcano from Mexico city. Image captured earlier today.

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

Popocatepetl 24Dec2017 Webcamsdemexico


December 24, 2017

Bezymianny, Kamchatka, Russia (Philippa)
This fantastic gif shows an explosive eruption which happened within the last 48 hours at Bezymianny volcano in Kamchatka. For us volcanologists, it is mesmerizing, as we can see that the eruption plume reaches a certain altitude, gets blown in one direction by the wind, then there is another even stronger eruptive pulse, and possibly even a 3rd pulse behind it. Beautiful!

via Vladimir Voychek (@voy4uk)

Another image of the same eruption at Bezymianny taken from a different angle by Inna Kaminskaya.

via Roberto C. Lopez (@Bromotengger)

Screen Shot 2017-12-22 at 00.03.21


Nyiragongo volcano, Democratic Republic of Congo (Philippa)
We love seeing people's holiday and work photos from volcanoes. Below are two images taken independently by two different people of Nyiragongo volcano, which is one of 6 volcanoes in the world with a currently-active lava lake; of these, Nyiragongo has the largest.

Dan Vernon was lucky enough to camp at the crater rim (altitude: 3470 m) and mentions the rumbling sound emanating from within the lava lake. This noise is infrasound, very low frequency sound waves, which are generated by all erupting volcanoes; at Nyiragongo it is produced as the volcanic gas bubbles burst at the surface of the lava lake. My former supervisor from Boise State University, Associate Professor Jeffrey Johnson, recently described Nyiragongo as being like an 'infrasound trombone', with the rise and fall of the lava lake being like the slider of a trombone, and the amplification and reverberation of the infrasound by the size and shape of the surrounding crater being like the bell end of a trombone.

via Dan Vernon (@DanVernonPhoto)

Screen Shot 2017-12-22 at 00.30.44

The second image of Nyiragongo was taken earlier this week at DRC / Rwanda border by Aldo Kane, who recently featured with Jeff in the two-part BBC documentary 'Expedition volcano'.

via Aldo Kane (@AldoKane)

Screen Shot 2017-12-22 at 00.31.58

Aldo was responsible for the safety of the scientists who took part in 'Expedition Volcano', including managing the ropes and rigging to get the volcanologists down to the 2nd tier within the crater. They had been due to descend right down to the crater floor to take samples of freshly-erupted pyroclasts (hot rocks) from next to the lava lake, but due to loose rocks in the crater walls, which could have killed them if hit on the head, it was deemed too unsafe by Aldo.

By a stroke of luck though, there were fresh pyroclasts on the 2nd tier, which had been erupted a few days earlier from a side vent. The rock sample in the image below shows what geologists describe as a dark, glassy matrix containing many vesicles but few crystals (see where the volcanologist's finger is pointing to).

via 'Expedition Volcano' / BBC2 (Expedition Volcano - Episode 1)

Screen Shot 2017-12-22 at 00.56.19

What does this mean? Firstly, the fact that it appears dark and glassy means that the lava here is very hot when it erupts and therefore that it cools very quickly because of the difference in temperature. It is a very primitive type of magma; it has not had time to evolve, cool and crystallize underground before erupting. Its composition is low in silica (less than 40%).

If this magma were to erupt from the flanks of Nyiragongo, it would be even more fluid and faster flowing than the lava flows from the 2002 eruption, which reached and engulfed the nearby city of Goma in under 10 hours. That particular eruption not only caused widespread damage, but many deaths due to an outbreak of cholera caused by a lack of access to sanitation as people evacuated and fled. The situation was made worse, because as the lava flows cooled and hardened, it made it impossible to bury the dead bodies.

Due to refugees crossing into the DRC from neighbouring Rwanda following a humanitarian crisis, there are now more than 1 million people living in Goma. Volcanologists and Civil Defense do outreach work with local people so that they are aware of the volcanic hazards, and evacuation drills are now regularly conducted in the city.

Mount Agung, Bali, Indonesia (Philippa)
The image (below) shows the latest observations of Mount Agung on the east side of Bali. This shot was taken at 06:44 a.m. local time today. The white (steam-driven) and grey (more ash-rich) plumes are being observed to heights of between 500m - 1,000 m above the summit area.

The 8 km and 10 km exclusion zones around the volcano and Alert Level IV remain in place, but the two main airports on Bali are otherwise open and the rest of the island is safe to visit.

Agung's eruptive activity continues to be closely monitored by the local volcanologists of PVMBG. Any significant changes in activity will be posted in the official 'Press Release' section of the MAGMA Indonesia website (MAGMA Indonesia)

via Sutopo Purwo Nugroho (@Sutopo_BNPB)

Screen Shot 2017-12-21 at 23.46.46

Mount Sinabung, Sumatra, Indonesia (Philippa)
Sinabung volcano on the Indonesian island of Sumatra continues to erupt explosively on a daily basis.

The image below from a few evenings ago shows the base of one of these eruption plumes glowing from the intense heat and friction between ash particles, whilst the top of the plume shows a distinct 'mushroom' shape from the convection currents.

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

Sinabung 15Dec2017 Endro Lewa

Mount Semeru, Java, Indonesia (Philippa)
Another one of Indonesia's 76 volcanoes. This is Mount Semeru, which is found on the east side of the island of Java. This particular volcano is comparable to Stromboli in Italy, as Semeru has been erupting almost constantly since 1967, with small puffs happening approximately every 20 minutes.

The gif below was formed from satellite data acquired in September 2017.

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


...and this is what it looks like from the ground.

via Thomas J. Casadevall / USGS / Smithsonian / Global Volcanism Program

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Kilauea volcano, Hawaii, USA (Philippa)
Parts of the walls of the Halema`uma`u Crater vent at the summit of Kilauea volcano collapsed twice as the level of the lava lake fell recently. Amazingly, the older material falling into the lava lake did not trigger any explosive events. However, the agitation of the surface of the lava lake did create seismic signals and spattering for tens of minutes.

via USGS Volcanoes (@USGSVolcanoes) / Hawaii Volcano Observatory

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The image (above) shows the two areas where parts of the wall of the crater collapsed on two separate occasions. The image (below) shows the surface agitation of the lava lake and spattering action on one of these nights.

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Erta Ale, Ethiopia (Philippa)
Footage (below) from another of the six lava lakes in the world, this time from Erta Ale volcano in Ethiopia.

via Giannella Garret (@giannella_nyc)

Article: Mapping America's Volcanoes (Philippa)
What does it take to make a geological map of a volcano? According to the U.S. Geological Survey: fieldwork, time, and love.

Click on the link below for a fascinating article about just how they do this.

Mapping America's Volcanoes (USGS)

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Mount Redoubt, Alaska, USA (Philippa)
On this week in 1989, a jet airplane flew through the volcanic ash plume from an explosive eruption at Mount Redoubt, causing all four of its engines to stall. Amazingly, despite sustaining damage, after descending 12,000 ft. in under 12 minutes, the Captain and Co-Pilot were able to re-start two of the engines, bringing the plane under control and safely landing.

via USGS Volcanoes (@USGSVolcanoes)

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This and several similar events lead to improvements in volcano monitoring, both with regards to eruption detection and the forecasting and tracking of volcanic ash plumes.

The Volcanic Ash Advisory Centres were established and became integrated into several meteorological centres around the world. They communicate volcanic ash warnings from volcano observatories to the aviation industry, and pilots in turn are able to report back any observations they make of large eruptive ash plumes.

The very latest research is developing volcanic ash sensors for commercial airplanes so that, air traffic permitting, they can avoid unwittingly flying through a volcanic ash plume during an eruption.

It should be pointed out that flying is still the safest form of travel, and that pilots today are trained to do the same emergency manouevre as the pilots in the article above.

Reventador, Ecuador (Philippa)
Footage of several eruptions this month at Reventador volcano. NOTE: footage of events has been sped up.

via Dr Richard Roscoe / Photovolcanica (www.photovolcanica.com/)

Mount Etna, Sicily, Italy (Philippa)
Volcanologist Boris Behncke is lucky enough to have a view of Mount Etna from his kitchen window. Even luckier for us, he took this photo at sunrise earlier this week. (19 December 2017)

via Boris Behncke (@etnaboris)

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Sakurajima, Kagoshima, Kyushu, Japan (Philippa)
The holiday photo (below) shows the active Minami-dake crater of Sakurajima volcano, which lies across the bay from the city of Kagoshima in southern Japan.

via Roberto C. Lopez (@Bromotengger)

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December 22, 2017

Weekly Volcanic Activity Report: 13 December-19 December 2017
Via Smithsonian Institution - Global Volcanism Program / US Geological Survey

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Agung | Bali (Indonesia)
PVMBG reported that during 13-19 December gray-and-white plumes rose as high as 2.5 km above Agung’s crater rim and drifted W, N, and E; weather clouds and fog sometimes prevented visual observations. Incandescence from the crater was sometimes observed at night. The Alert Level remained at 4 (on a scale of 1-4), and the exclusion zones continued at a general 8-km radius and 10 km in the NNE, SE, S, and SW directions.
BNPB posted two map-view images of Agung, one from 20 October showing pre-eruptive conditions and one from 16 December showing the lava that had erupted onto the crater floor, noting that about 1/3 of the crater had been filled with an estimated 20 million cubic meters of lava.

Bezymianny | Central Kamchatka (Russia)
On 18 December hot avalanches on the SE flank of Bezymianny’s lava dome were recorded by a webcam, prompting KVERT to raise the Aviation Color Code to Orange (the second highest level on a four-color scale). A strong explosion that started at 1555 on 20 December generated ash plumes that rose 10-15 km (32,800-49,200 ft) a.s.l., prompting KVERT to raise the Aviation Color Code to Red. Ash plumes were identified in satellite data drifting 85 km NE. Later that day satellite images indicted decreased activity; the Alert level was lowered back to Orange.

Kanlaon | Philippines
PHIVOLCS reported between 1 and 7 volcanic earthquakes at Kanlaon were recorded each day during 2-8 December, prior to the phreatic eruption on 9 December. Only three events were detected on 10 December, and then the number increased to 155 the next day. The number of daily volcanic earthquakes increased to 578 on 13 December, rising to 1,007 the next day, and peaking at 1,217 on the 15th. The earthquake count dropped to 149 on 16 December before returning to six or less through 19 December. White steam plumes rose 800 and 300 m above the crater on 13 and 14 December, respectively. White plumes were diffuse on 15 December; weather clouds prevented views of the summit area during 16-18 December. Sulfur dioxide emissions were 603-687 tons per day during 13-14 December. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 0-5).

Klyuchevskoy | Central Kamchatka (Russia)
Based on satellite observations KVERT reported that gas-and-steam plumes from Klyuchevskoy contained some ash and drifted about 95 km E and SW on 7 and 13 December, respectively. A weak thermal anomaly was visible on 11 December. The Aviation Color Code remained at Orange.

Pacaya | Guatemala
INSIVUMEH reported that during 12-19 December Strombolian explosions at Pacaya’s Mackenney cone ejected material as high as 100 m above the main cone. A 75-m-long lava flow on the NW flank was visible.

Shishaldin | Fox Islands (USA)
AVO reported that seismic and infrasound data from Shishaldin continued to indicate elevated activity during 13-19 December. Robust steaming was recorded by a webcam during 13-14 December; ice and poor weather conditions prevented views during the rest of the period. The Aviation Color Code remained at Yellow and the Volcano Alert Level remained at Advisory.

Stromboli | Aeolian Islands (Italy)
INGV reported after an effusive eruption during August-November 2014, activity at Stromboli remained at modest levels. In recent months however activity was characterized by frequent explosions from different vents on the crater terrace, punctuated by four major explosions (on 26 July, 23 October, 1 November, and 1 December 2017). Activity remained high after the last explosion, prompting authorities to restrict access to the summit areas. In the late morning on 15 December one of the vents began spattering, and by 1400 lava flows from two vents had begun to fill the crater depression. At 1430 the lava spilled onto the N flank of the Sciara del Fuoco. Spattering rapidly stopped later in the afternoon and the lava flows stopped advancing.

December 21, 2017

Mount Agung, Bali, Indonesia (Philippa)
Mount Agung on the east side of the island of Bali continues to be in an eruptive state.

The latest remote sensing observations, including aerial observations using drones and satellite imagery, show that the eruption emissions are currently weaker than at the start of the eruption at the end of last month, with plume heights yesterday only reaching heights of around 1.5 km above the summit.

via Sutopo Purwo Nugroho (@Sutopo_BNPB) - imagery from 15 December 2017

The drone footage shows that a lava dome has formed, which has already 1/3 filled the summit crater. This is not like the bubbling red lava lakes at Kilauea on Hawaii or Nyiragongo in the Democratic Republic of Congo, but rather is sticky**, cooler, grey lava, with a more silicic composition. The formation of this 'pancake' lava dome is partially sealing the top of the volcanic system, which is why there are reduced plume emissions from the summit area. However, this could also lead to a re-pressurisation of the volcanic system, potentially causing Agung to have a larger, more explosive eruption if the lava dome were eventually to grow so big that it becomes unstable and collapses.

** similar to the consistency of toothpaste as it erupts

via Sutopo Purwo Nugroho (@Sutopo_BNPB) - drone footage from 14 December 2017

Agung continues to be carefully monitored by the local authorities in Indonesia, and exclusion zones within 8 km and 10 km around the volcano are still in place.

If traveling to Bali: tourist areas remain unaffected and are safe to visit. Both airports on the island are currently open. In the event of any changes in the eruptive activity of Agung, you are advised in the first instance to contact your travel agent or airline to check for any flight delays or cancellations before traveling to the airport.

via Ineke Willeboordse (@Iwilleboordse) - image from 16 December 2017

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Also via Ineke Willeboordse - from 14 December 2017

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Mount Sinabung, Sumatra, Indonesia (Philippa)
Sinabung volcano continues to explosively erupt on the island of Sumatra (NOTE: different Indonesian island to Agung).

The sped-up time-lapse gif (below) shows one of its ash-rich eruptions from earlier today.

via MAGMA Indonesia (@id_magma)

The image (below) of one of Sinabung's eruptions was taken on 13 December 2017 by a French tourist at a local homestay.

via Jaime S. Sincioco (@jaimessincioco)

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Mount Cleveland, Alaska, USA (Philippa)
The Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) reported on 13 December that an explosive eruption occurred at Mount Cleveland, which generated an ash plume up to 20,000 ft. / 6.1 km. The eruption was detected within the seismic data and later verified by satellite data.

Although eruptions at Cleveland are not uncommon, this particular eruption was larger than normal.

The National Weather Service issued an aviation alert as a precaution. The cruising altitude for commercial jets above Alaskan airspace is around 30,000 ft. / 9.1 km.

via AVO (@alaska_avo) / US Geological Survey

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Cascades Volcanoes, Washington State, USA (Philippa)
If you either live in the U.S. or are thinking of doing some volcano tourism there in 2018, save this date in your diaries: 12 May 2018. The Cascades Volcanoes Observatory (CVO) in Vancouver, Washington State will be opening their doors to the public that day. Between 10.00 a.m. - 5.00 p.m. you will be able to meet the volcanologists to ask them questions and see some pretty cool stuff.

Details are provided in the poster below.

CVO monitors, among other volcanoes, Mount St. Helens and Mount Rainier.

via USGS Volcanoes (@USGSVolcanoes)

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Volcan Popocatepetl, Mexico (Philippa)
A beautiful view (below) of Popocatepetl from Mexico City, which is 70 km / 43 miles away.

via Volcan Popocatepetl (@Popocatepetl_MX) - taken on 14 December 2017

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December 16, 2017

Weekly Volcanic Activity Report: 6 December - 12 December 2017
Via Smithsonian Institution - Global Volcanism Program / US Geological Survey

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Agung | Bali (Indonesia)
Based on BNPB and PVMBG reports, the eruption at Agung continued during 6-12 December, with high seismicity and nighttime crater incandescence often visible. On 8 December at 0759 an event generated a dense ash plume that rose 2.1 km above the crater rim and drifted W. Minor amounts of ash were deposited on the flanks, and lapilli was reported in Temakung. An ash plume rose 3 km at 1457. The number of evacuees on 10 December was 70,079 (spread out in 237 shelters). Ash plumes rose as high as 2 km. Lahars were observed in a drainage originating on the flanks of Agung. An explosion at 0549 on 11 December generated a dense ash plume that rose 2.5 km and drifted W and NW. Multiple ash-plume events were observed during 11-12 December, with plumes rising 1.5 km above the crater rim. The Alert Level remained at 4 (on a scale of 1-4), and the exclusion zones continued at a general 8-km radius and 10 km in the NNE, SE, S, and SW directions.

Kanlaon | Philippines
PHIVOLCS reported that an approximately 10-minute-long, low-energy phreatic eruption at Kanlaon began at 0947 on 9 December. A plume of voluminous steam and dark ash rose 3-4 km above the summit vent. The event was heard as far away as La Castellana, Negros Occidental. Minor amounts of ash fell in Sitio Guintubdan, and barangays Ara-al, Sag-ang, and Ilihan. The eruption was preceded by the resumption of degassing at the summit crater at 0634, detectable as continuous low-energy tremor during periods when the summit was not visible; degassing was last observed September 2016. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 0-5).

Klyuchevskoy | Central Kamchatka (Russia)
KVERT reported that a weak thermal anomaly over Klyuchevskoy was identified in satellite images during 5-6 December. Ash plumes rose as high as 5.5 km (18,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted about 180 km during 5-8 December. The Aviation Color Code remained at Orange.

Pacaya | Guatemala
INSIVUMEH reported that during 9-12 December Strombolian explosions at Pacaya’s Mackenney cone ejected material as high as 25 m above the main cone. Lava flows traveled 100 m NW towards Cerro Chino cone, and 75 m SE.

Shishaldin | Fox Islands (USA)
AVO increased the Aviation Color Code for Shishaldin to Orange and the Volcano Alert Level to Watch on 6 December following several weeks of increasing seismicity and pressure waves recorded by infrasound sensors. Continuous infrasound waves were detected for more than 10 hours on instruments located in Sand Point, ~230 km E. Steam emissions visible in satellite and webcam images during 5 and 8-12 December were rising hundreds of feet above the summit crater. The steam emissions were occasionally accompanied by infrasound signals indicating episodes of short-duration energetic gas emissions and/or small explosions.

Villarrica | Chile
On 10 December POVI reported that the surface of the lava lake in Villarrica’s crater was stable at 70 m below the crater rim. Ejected lava from the lake was not evident in images captured during the previous five days, and incandescence and seismicity slowly decreased.

Villarica 041217 Francisco Negroni

December 15, 2017