GLOBAL VOLCANISM: The Latest Report Of Volcanic Eruptions, Activity, Unrest And Awakenings – March 3, 2015!

March 3, 2015 – EARTH – The following constitutes the new activity, unrest and ongoing reports of volcanoes across the globe.


Raung volcano (Indonesia):
Our local Indonesian partner, photographer and volcanologist Andi, spent a week at Raung to observe the volcano´s current explosive eruption.

Large Strombolian explosion/jet spewing lava from the dome’s vent, the sound accompanying this activity is just like an exploding bomb.
Photograph taken by Andi

On the 25th of February 2015, Andi reported us the following:
Over the last two weeks Raung has been spewing out lava fountains and explosions typical for Strombolian eruptions. During my visit there were many spectacular explosions, sometimes as frequent as occurring every 15 minutes. The loud detonation sounds and rumbling of the volcano could be heard up to 10-15 km away from the vent, as well as from Ijen crater. Harmonic tremors and regular gas venting are a steady occruence and seem to indicate that Raung might be building up a dome similar to the one in 2012.

Beautiful incandescent trails of a large explosion during the night. Photograph taken by Andi

Beautiful incandescent trails of a large explosion during the night. Photograph taken by Andi

The status alert remains at level 2 and so far no evacuation procedures have been initated for the many inhabitants of the land surrounding Raul volcano.

Bardarbunga volcano (Iceland): At noon of the 28th of February, the Scientific Advisory Board for Iceland´s recent volcanic activity officially declared that the eruption at Holuhraun has come to an end.

A first mention of a visible reduction in the amount of lava emitted over the previous 2 weeks was reported on the 6th of February – but seismic activity in and around Bárðarbunga continued to be strong.

The Icelandic Met Office reported on the 17th February that despite the eruption at Holuhraun continued to go on, it was clearly diminishing, and no earthquake over M5.0 had been detected in the Bárðarbunga area since the 8th of January.

On the 20th of February their report mentioned that the still ongoing eruption had diminished substantially over the last few weeks and that visual activity in the crater had decreased so much that for the first time the lava field was hardly increasing in size. By then there was also a clear diminish in the region´s seismic activity.

On the 24th of February, information on the sulphur dioxide emissions in populated areas revealed that there had not been any high values of SO2 detected on the twenty or so automatic gas measuring stations – and no surpassing of the health limit of 350 µg/m³ since the 5 th of February. But it was also clearly stated that this of course does not apply to the wilderness closer to Holuhraun where sulphur dioxide is present at dangerous levels. A helicopter surveillance flight on the 27th of February finally showed that there was no more glow at the eruptive site, suggesting that the magma flow is over, i.e. that new and hot magma is no longer transported to the surface to erupt as lava through the vents in Holuhraun. Volcanic gas is, however, still being released from both the eruptive site and the lava field.

The Holuhraun eruption began on the 31st of August 2014, after 2 weeks of earthquakes in and around Bárðarbunga volcano which were followed all over the world thanks to the internet and represent the first time ever that a magmatic intrusion in the upper crust was closely observed.

The fissure was still very active and violently erupting tall lava fountains from a number of vents when
volcanologist Dr Tom Pfeiffer flew over the site on the 12the of September 2014.

On the 27th of February Helo – Helicopter Service of Iceland reported that the flame is now out in Holuhraun.

The eruption site at Holuhraun and the immensely long lava flow and active lava field on the 26th of October 2014. Photograph taken by Ólafur Sigurjónsson.

By the winter of 2014, the exposive activity had subdued and changed into effusive activity of lava flowing from a large active lava lake.
Photograph from the Institure of Earth Sciences at the University of Iceland.

This lava lake continued to be very active: continuous degassing gave rise to bubbles and explosions, making the lava lake look as it is boiling.
Photograph from the Institure of Earth Sciences at the University of Iceland.

The fissure eruption had a large number of active vents that ejected large amounts of lava for a prolonged time, but even after the initial onset of the eruption a few of these vents remained very active – eventually transforming from explosive to effusive volcanic activity but continuing to feed the huge lava field by flows from the active lava lake.

This 6 months long continuous eruption quickly became one of the very rare prolonged fissure eruptions Iceland has experienced in the past 1000 years. It also pulverized records of volume of ejected magma, length of the resulting lava flow and duration of the eruption from volcanic eruptions in the last few centuries: about 1.5 km³ of lava has been erupted and the resulting lava field has a surface area of about 86km² – making it the largest Icelandic eruption since Laki´s activity in 1783-1785.

The Laki fissure eruption itself continued for 8 months, erupted ca. 14 km³ of basaltic lava and emitted poisonous volcanic gasses (hydrofluoric acid and sulphur dioxide) that killed 50% of the livestock on Iceland. As a result, about 25% of the Icelandic human population starved to death. But the deadly results from this eruption did not stop there: in the aftermath of the eruption temperatures plunged globally due to the large amounts of sulphur dioxide that was injected in the northern hemisphere. It is estimated that the famine resulting from this climate change killed about 6 million people worldwide – making one of the most deadly volcanic eruptions of all times.

Luckily, the recent Holuhraun fissure eruption has not been so poisonous, although it did also emit a lot of sulphur dioxide in the surrounding atmosphere, which at times drifted to other parts of northern Europe. The Icelandic Civil Protection will continue to closely monitor the emission of volcanic gasses and issue warnings / alerts if the combination of degassing and the weather are forecasted to result in dangerous high levels of sulphur dioxide in certain parts of Iceland.

Other lava eruptions have taught that a lava field continues to emit gas for a long time after the end of the eruption itself. Without the thermal rise from an open vent, the volcanic gases will furthermore tend to follow pathways under the ground to find new areas to escape into the atmosphere. Therefore, even higher values of more polluting gas may be expected now than in recent weeks.

The Civil Protection thus remains to operate in the alert phase and there is no change with regard to the restricted area north of Vatnajökull, but the aviation colour code for Bárðarbunga has been downgraded from orange to yellow.

Villarrica volcano (Chile): Activity increased to a paroxysmal eruption this morning, as strombolian explosions merged into sustained tall lava fountains several hundreds of meters tall, feeding lava flows on the upper slopes of the volcano.

The ash plume rose approx. 3 km above the volcano and caused moderate ash fall in nearby areas. Red alert was declared in the municipalities of Villarrica, Pucón and Curarrehue in the La Araucanía region, as well as in Panguipulli in the Los Ríos region. More than 3300 people were evacuated.

Colima (Western Mexico): Dr Tom Pfeiffer is part of a volcano filming expedition in Mexico at the moment. They have been observing Colima volcano over the past few days.

Starry sky and large explosive eruption of Colima, photograph by Hernando Rivera.

The effusive activity seems to have stopped since there is no more dome building nor lava flows. Explosive activity has taken over instead: Colima erupts in irregular explosions (at intervals of 30mins to 7 hours) of small to moderately large size, emitted from two different vents in summit crater. Ash plumes are rising to max 2-3km and bombs thrown into the air are estimated to travel up to 800m high and land laterally up to 1.5 km away from the vent. Such large eruptions can furthermore last up to 2 minutes.

Stromboli volcano (Eolian Islands, Italy):  Strombolian activity from the summit vents continues slowly to increase but always below normal levels.

Strong Strombolian explosion on Feb 15th (INGV Catania)

In the morning of Feb the 15th a brief but energetic series of 7-8 strong explosions occurred less than 2 minutes:it was characterized by the most powerful explosion observed since the end of the effusive activity.

Volcano Activity Summary as of March 3, 2015

Currently erupting:

Ambrym (Vanuatu): active lava lakes in several craters (updated 14 Aug 2013)
Aso (Kyushu): intense strombolian activity from main vent in Nakadake crater (updated 16 Feb 2015)
Batu Tara (Sunda Islands, Indonesia): strombolian explosions, ash plumes up to 500 m, extrusion of a small lava dome with rockfalls (updated 4 Nov 2014)
Chikurachki (Paramushir Island): ash emissions, explosions (updated 17 Feb 2015)
Colima (Western Mexico): Irregular small to moderately large explosions (updated 28 Feb 2015)
Copahue (Chile/Argentina): ash venting (updated 4 Dec 2014)
Daikoku (Volcano Islands): underwater eruption discovered on 14 Dec 2014 (updated 22 Dec 2014)
Dukono (Halmahera): thermal anomaly, probably small explosive activity in summit crater (updated 12 Feb 2015)
Erebus (Antarctica): active lava lake in summit crater (updated 8 Dec 2014)
Erta Ale (Ethiopia): active lava lake in northern pit crater, active hornito with intermittend flow in southern crater (updated 11 Jan 2013)
Fuego (Guatemala): intermittent strombolian explosions (updated 19 Feb 2015)
Gamalama (Halmahera): new eruption on 18 Dec 2014 (updated 22 Dec 2014)
Ibu (Halmahera, Indonesia): stromolian and phreatomagmatic explosions (updated 14 Nov 2014)
Karangetang (Siau Island, Sangihe Islands, Indonesia): growing lava dome, incandescent avalanches (updated 5 Feb 2015)
Karymsky (Kamchatka): occasional small explosions, thermal anomaly (updated 28 Jan 2015)
Kilauea (Hawai’i): new lava flow from vents on NE flank of Pu’u ‘O’o (updated 13 Aug 2013)
Kliuchevskoi (Kamchatka): strombolian activity and lava flow on summit vent (updated 19 Feb 2015)
Marapi (Western Sumatra, Indonesia): sporadic explosions (updated 27 Mar 2014)
Nasu (Honshu)
Nishino-shima (Volcano Islands, Japan): growing island (updated 19 Jan 2015)
Nyamuragira (DRCongo): active lava lake (updated 29 Nov 2014)
Nyiragongo (DRCongo): active lava lake in summit crater (updated 26 Feb 2014)
Ol Doinyo Lengai (Tanzania): effusion of natrocarbonatite lava inside the crater (updated 8 Jul 2013)
Poas (Costa Rica): phreatic explosions (updated 14 Oct 2014)
Popocatépetl (Central Mexico): degassing, sporadic explosions, slowly growing lava dome (updated 16 Feb 2015)
Rabaul (Tavurvur) (New Britain, Papua New Guinea): lava fountains, ash emissions from Tavurvur cone (updated 12 Sep 2014)
Raung (East Java): Large Strombolian explosions (updated 1 Mar 2015)
Reventador (Ecuador): active lava flow no southwestern flank, intermittent explosions (updated 12 Feb 2015)
Sakurajima (Kyushu, Japan): ash venting, intermittent explosions (updated 19 Feb 2015)
Sangay (Ecuador): likely strombolian eruptions at summit crater (updated 28 Jan 2015)
Sangeang Api (Indonesia): growing lava dome & lava flow (updated 7 Jul 2014)
Santiaguito (Guatemala): small explosions from the Caliente dome and active lava flow (updated 3 Feb 2015)
Semeru (East Java, Indonesia): growing lava dome, lava flow, strombolian activity (updated 26 Nov 2014)
Shiveluch (Kamchatka): growing lava dome (updated 20 Feb 2015)
Sinabung (Sumatra, Indonesia): continuing pyroclastic flows (updated 20 Feb 2015)
Soputan (North Sulawesi, Indonesia): active viscous lava flow, explosions, rockfalls, pyroclastic flows (updated 12 Feb 2015)
Suwanose-jima (Ryukyu Islands): strombolian activity (updated 16 Feb 2015)
Tungurahua (Ecuador): moderate to strong strombolian explosions from central crater (updated 25 Sep 2014)
Villarrica (Central Chile): strombolian activity in summit crater, small lava lake (updated 17 Feb 2015)
Yasur (Tanna Island, Vanuatu): ash emissions, weak strombolian explosions (updated 14 Aug 2013)
Zhupanovsky (Kamchatka, Russia): intermittent ash emissions (updated 16 Feb 2015)

Eruption warning / minor activity:

Augustine (Cook Inlet (SW Alaska))
Bagana (Bougainville Island, Papua New Guinea): ash emissions, lava dome growth (updated 21 Jan 2015)
Bezymianny (Central Kamchatka Depression): steaming, weak seismic activity (updated 3 Jul 2014)
Etna (Sicily, Italy): sporadic weak ash emissions from New SE crater (updated 19 Apr 2014)
Heard (Australia, Southern Indian Ocean): possibly lava lake in summit crater (updated 5 Dec 2014)
Kavachi (Solomon Islands): no eruption since 2007 (updated 16 Jun 2014)
Kerinci (Sumatra): seismic unrest (updated 5 Jun 2013)
Kirishima (Kyushu): degassing, alert lowered (updated 25 Oct 2014)
Krakatau (Sunda Strait, Indonesia): degassing (updated 31 Mar 2014)
Kuchinoerabu-jima (Ryukyu Islands): explosion on 3 Aug 2014 (updated 5 Dec 2014)
Lokon-Empung (North Sulawesi, Indonesia): small explosions, lava flow? (updated 13 Sep 2014)
Lopevi (Vanuatu ): eruption warning (updated 16 Dec 2014)
Manam (Papua New Guinea): steaming, incandescence at main crater (updated 5 Feb 2015)
Mayon (Luzon Island): steaming (updated 18 Dec 2014)
Monowai (Kermandec Islands, New Zealand): frequent submarine eruptions, last confirmed during Oct 2014 (updated 14 Nov 2014)
Nevado del Ruiz (Colombia): ash emissions (updated 16 Dec 2014)
Ontake-san (Honshu): steaming, low seismic activity (updated 18 Dec 2014)
Pacaya (Guatemala): ash emissions (updated 7 Feb 2015)
Papandayan (West Java): strong hydrothermal activity, increased seismicity (updated 6 May 2013)
Pavlof (Alaska Peninsula, USA): steaming, elevated seismic activity (updated 22 Dec 2014)
Piton de la Fournaise (La Réunion): new eruption on 4 Feb 2015 (updated 16 Feb 2015)
Rasshua (Central Kuriles)
Rincón de la Vieja (Costa Rica): phreatic explosions from crater lake (updated 21 Sep 2014)
Sacabaya (Northern Chile, Bolivia and Argentina)
San Cristobal (Nicaragua): possible ash emission on 11 April (updated 12 Apr 2014)
San Miguel (El Salvador): elevated seismic activity, pulsating gas emissions (updated 28 Jan 2015)
Shishaldin (United States, Aleutian Islands): mild explosive activity, intermittent more intense phases (updated 3 Feb 2015)
Slamet (Central Java): intense strombolian explosions (updated 12 Jan 2015)
Stromboli (Eolian Islands, Italy): weak strombolian activity at summit vents (updated 12 Feb 2015)
Turrialba (Costa Rica): occasional ash emissions (updated 9 Dec 2014)
Ulawun (New Britain, Papua New Guinea): degassing, ash venting (updated 5 Aug 2013)

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