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SI/USGS Weekly Volcanic Activity Report 16-22 September 2009 23 September 2009

Posted by admin in activity reports, Bagana, Batu Tara, Chaitén, Chile, Dukono, Ecuador, eruptions, Hawaii, Indonesia, Japan, Kamchatka, Karymsky, Kilauea, Kliuchevskoi, Papua New Guinea, Rabaul, Reventador, Russia, Sakura-jima, Shiveluch, Suwanose-jima, United States.
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SI/USGS Weekly Volcanic Activity Report 16-22 September 2009

Click on the map for a larger version (1280 x 898 pixels).

The Smithsonian Institution/United States Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report for 16-22 September 2009 is available on the Global Volcanism Program website. The following is a summary and not a substitute for the full report.

New activity/unrest: Karymsky (Russia), Kliuchevskoi (Russia), Sakar (Papua New Guinea), Shiveluch (Russia).

Ongoing activity: Bagana (Papua New Guinea), Batu Tara (Indonesia), Chaitén (Chile), Dukono (Indonesia), Kilauea (Hawaii, USA), Rabaul (Papua New Guinea), Reventador (Ecuador), Sakura-jima (Japan), Suwanose-jima (Japan).

Note: a.s.l. = ‘above sea level’.


Karymsky (Russia). An increase in seismic activity prompted a raise in the alert level to Yellow; ash bursts may have produced plumes to under 2 km a.s.l.

Kliuchevskoi (Russia). During 11-18 September weak tremor was detected although seismicity did not rise above background levels. A weak thermal anomaly was detected over the volcano 13-17 September, and strombolian activity ejecting tephra 70 m above the crater was seen at night 16-17 September.

Sakar (Papua New Guinea). Possible activity at Sakar is unconfirmed: Darwin VAAC reported a possible diffuse ash plume to 1.8 km a.s.l. on 18 September which drifted 165 km W, but as the volcano showed clear only four hours later the plume may have been smoke from a fire or steam.

Shiveluch (Russia). Seismic activity was above background levels 11-18 September, and seismic data indicated possible ash plumes to 7.1 km a.s.l. Pyroclastic flow deposits 5 km in length were seen on the S side of the lava dome on 13 September. Fumarolic activity was observed on 13 and 16-17 September, and hot avalanches from the lava dome were seen at night on 16-17 September. A large daily thermal anomaly was detected over the lava dome.


Bagana (Papua New Guinea). During 17-19 September ash plumes rose to 2.4 km a.s.l. and drifted 25-45 km NW, W and SW.

Batu Tara (Indonesia). During 16-19 and 21-22 September ash plumes rose to 1.5 km a.s.l. and drifted 20-65 km W, NW, N and NE.

Chaitén (Chile). Over 1-16 September the dome complex continued to grow. During 16 and 20-22 September ash plumes were reported to 1.8-2.4 km a.s.l. which drifted NE, E and SE.

Dukono (Indonesia). During 17-20 September ash plumes rose to 2.4 km a.s.l. and drifted 25-75 km NE and ESE.

Kilauea (Hawaii, USA). Lava continued to flow SE through the lava tube system during 16-22 September to the Waikupanaha ocean entry, and thermal anomalies and visual observations revealed active surface flows. The Halema’uma’u vent continued to produce a diffuse white plume that drifted mainly SW; a rockfall caused the plume to turn brown on 9 September. Incandescence of variable intensity from small opening in the floor of the vent was visible at night. The sulfur dioxide emission rate at the summit remained elevated: 1300 tonnes/day was measured on 16 September, 1000 tonnes/day on 17 September, and 400 tonnes/day on 18 September (2003-2007 average rate = 140 tonnes/day). Two hybrid earthquakes occurred on 16 and 17 September which were followed by 20-40 minutes of sustained tremor.

Rabaul (Papua New Guinea). During 11-17 September grey plumes from Tavurvur cone rose 1.5 km above the crater, and ashfall was reported in Rabaul town and nearby areas. Summit incandescence was occasionally visible at night, incandescent fragments were ejected from the crater and rumbling/roaring noises were heard. Several strong explosions occurred on 11, 16 and 17 September. During 21-22 September ash plumes rose to 2.4 km a.s.l. and drifted 65-110 km NW.

Reventador (Ecuador). Pilot observations indicated a plume to 7.6 km a.s.l. on 21 September. No ash was visible in satellite imagery.

Sakura-jima (Japan). Explosions during 16, 18-19 and 21 September produced plumes to 1.5-2.7 km a.s.l. which drifted S, SW, W, NW and NE. A pilot reported ash on 19 September.

Suwanose-jima (Japan). Ash drifted S on 17 September, and on 19 September an ash plume rose to 1.5 km a.s.l.


The foregoing is a summary of the Smithsonian Institution/United States Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report covering 16-22 September 2009. It is provided for information only, and is based on but not a substitute for the full report, which comes with its own criteria and disclaimers. The map base is derived from the Smithsonian Institution/USGS/US Naval Research Laboratory This Dynamic Planet website.

For all our coverage of the SI/USGS Weekly Volcanic Activity Reports: Weekly Volcanic Activity Reports « The Volcanism Blog.

The Volcanism Blog



1. theroachman - 24 September 2009

Interesting. Seems Smithsonian finanly agrees with the Russians about activty at Karymsky, , Kliuchevskoi, and Shiveluch being all at the same time.

2. admin UPDATE - corrected - 24 September 2009

Well, the Smithsonian have specific criteria for including volcanoes under ‘new activity’, whereas the Russian volcanologists, and still less the Russian press, have no such constraints on talking vaguely about allegedly unprecedented levels of simultaneous activity.

Karymsky and Kliuchevskoi are clearly restless, and Shiveluch is currently erupting, so the GVP report naturally includes these three. But the Russians also listed Bezymianny, Koryaksky and Gorely among their Kamchatka Six, all of which are quiet at the moment:


I think the Russians were sensationalizing the situation somewhat: there’s nothing volcanically unusual going on in Kamchatka.

[By the way, and unrelated to the above, it’s been pointed out to me that Sakar is yellow on the large map when it should be red. Apologies: I’ll correct it later today. UPDATE – corrected.]

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