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SI/USGS Weekly Volcanic Activity Report 30 December 2009-5 January 2010 9 January 2010

Posted by admin in activity reports, Africa, Barren Island, Caribbean, Chaitén, Chile, Colombia, Congo (Dem. Rep.), Costa Rica, Ecuador, eruptions, Galeras, Guatemala, Hawaii, India, Indian Ocean, Indonesia, Japan, Kamchatka, Karymsky, Kilauea, Kliuchevskoi, Mayon, Nevado del Huila, Nyamuragira, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Piton de la Fournaise, Rabaul, Rinjani, Russia, Sakura-jima, Sangay, Santa María, Shiveluch, Soufrière Hills, Suwanose-jima, Tungurahua, Turrialba, United States, Weekly Volcanic Activity Reports.
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SI/USGS Weekly Volcanic Activity Report 30 December 2009 - 5 January 2010

Click on the map for a larger version (1280 x 898 pixels). The map title gives the end of the period covered as 6 January 2010, it should be 5 January 2010. Sorry about that.

The Smithsonian Institution/United States Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report for 30 December 2009 – 5 January 2010 is available on the Global Volcanism Program website. The following is a summary and not a substitute for the full report.

New activity/unrest: Galeras (Colombia), Mayon (Philippines), Nyamuragira (Democratic Republic of Congo), Piton de la Fournaise (Réunion), Rinjani (Indonesia), Tungurahua (Ecuador), Turrialba (Costa Rica).

Ongoing activity: Barren Island (India), Chaitén (Chile), Karymsky (Russia), Kilauea (Hawaii, USA), Kliuchevskoi (Russia), Nevado del Huila (Colombia), Rabaul (Papua New Guinea), Sakura-jima (Japan), Sangay (Ecuador), Santa María (Guatemala), Shiveluch (Russia), Soufrière Hills (Montserrat), Suwanose-jima (Japan).

Note: a.s.l. = ‘above sea level’.


Galeras (Colombia). An explosive eruption on 2 January prompted produced an ash plume to 12 km a.s.l. which drifted W and NW. Ashfall was reported in areas downwind, as far away as 110 km W. Ejected incandescent blocks fell onto the flanks 3.2-3.5 km away from the summit and ignited fires. An overflight on 3 January revealed diffuse gas plumes from the main crater. Fires started the previous day continued to burn on the N flank.

Mayon (Philippines). Declining activity was reported from 28 December to 2 January. Steam plumes were emitted from the crater, but ash plumes were last seen on 29 December. In addition, the majority of the seismic signals originated from rockfalls and detached lava fragments rolling down the flanks from advancing lava flows. Sulphur dioxide emissions also decreased from close to 9,000 tonnes/day to about 2,600 tonnes/day. During 2-5 January seismic activity indicated rockfall events related to the detachment of lava fragments at the upper slopes. Cloud cover at the summit prevented observations of steam plumes. Incandescence from the crater at night was noted.

Nyamuragira (Democratic Republic of Congo). An eruption was reported on 2 January from a fissure on the SE flank. Park rangers reported hearing a loud explosion in the early morning before seeing flowing lava. By 3 January the lava flow had traveled 4.6 km, was 15 m wide, and had burned about 10 hectares of forest in a non-populated area of the Virunga National Park.

Piton de la Fournaise (Reunion). A seismic crisis 29 December was characterized by numerous earthquakes in the area W and NW of Dolomieu crater (max M 3), at depths of 1.1-2.2 km below the summit. Deformation was also detected. On 31 December decreased seismicity and fewer landslides within Dolomieu crater on 30 and 31 December. On 2 January an eruption from a fissure near the top of the W crater rim, preceded by a seismic crisis, produced lava fountains a few tens of meters high and lava flows in Dolomieu crater. Large landslides in Bory crater (W) along with the fissure eruption generated ash and gas plumes.During 2-3 January seismicity and the number of landslides decreased. As of 4 January the lava flows covered about 80 percent of the crater floor. Lava fountaining was still visible.

Rinjani (Indonesia). Darwin VAAC reported that on 2 January an ash plume rose to an unspecified altitude. The plume was not identified in satellite imagery; however a meteorological cloud was present in the area.

Tungurahua (Ecuador). Steam emissions were reported during 30 December-3 January. On 1 January an ash plume rose to 5.9 km a.s.l. and drifted NW. Slight ashfall was reported the next day in Manzano, 8 km SW. Roaring noises and incandescence from the crater were also reported. On 3 and 4 January incandescent blocks were ejected from the crater. Washington VAAC reported that ash plumes rose to 6.7-9.1 km a.s.l. and drifted W. Thermal anomalies were detected in satellite imagery. On 4 January ashfall was reported in areas to the W and SW.

Turrialba (Costa Rica). On 5 January an eruption produced ashfall in local areas, particularly in areas to the SW, including near Irazú volcano (11 km SW). According to news articles, about 20 people evacuated the area.


Barren Island (India). Darwin VAAC reported that on 3 January a plume rose to 1.5 km a.s.l. The plume was not identified in satellite imagery, however a meteorological cloud was present in the area.

Chaitén (Chile). Buenos Aires VAAC reported that a plume from the lava-dome complex drifted SE on 30 December at 2.1 km a.s.l.

Karymsky (Russia). A thermal anomaly was detected in satellite imagery during 24-26 and 29-30 December. Gas-and-steam bursts were seen by volcanologists on 28 December. The Level of Concern Colour Code remained at Orange.

Kilauea (Hawaii, USA). During 30 December-3 January lava flowed SE from
beneath Kilauea’s Thanksgiving Eve Breakout (TEB) and rootless shield complex through a lava tube system, reaching the ocean at Waikupanaha. Lava was not seen entering the ocean on 4 and 5 January. Thermal anomalies detected by satellite and occasional visual observations revealed active lava flows on the pali. Incandescence was seen almost daily coming from Pu’u ‘O’o crater. During an overflight of Pu’u ‘O’o crater on 29 December, geologists saw that a part of the high point of the W rim had collapsed, and a new gas vent had opened up at base of the N wall. The vent in Halema’uma’u crater continued to produce a plume that drifted NE and NW, dropping small amounts of ash, and occasionally fresh spatter, downwind. Incandescence originated from an active and sometimes sloshing lava surface within an opening on the deep floor of the vent cavity.

Kliuchevskoi (Russia). During 24-31 December seismic activity was above background levels and lava continued to flow down the ESE flank. Strombolian activity ejected material 500 m above the crater. Satellite imagery revealed a large daily thermal anomaly at the volcano. The Level of Concern Colour Code remained at Orange.

Nevado del Huila (Colombia). During 23-29 December a continuous white plume rose 1 km. The output of sulphur dioxide was less than during the previous months of October and November. Seismicity and the rate of lava extrusion had also decreased during the previous weeks.

Rabaul (Papua New Guinea). Activity from Tavurvur cone was at a low level during 21-31 December; no emission from the crater was observed on most days. White steam plumes accompanied by blue plumes were occasionally emitted. On 23 December, ash emissions rose less than 200 m above the cone. Based on analyses of satellite imagery, the Darwin VAAC reported that on 31 December an ash plume rose to 2.4 km a.s.l. and drifted less than 30 km SE.

Sakura-jima (Japan). Tokyo VAAC reported that during 30 December-5 January multiple explosions often produced plumes that rose to 1.2-2.7 km a.s.l. and drifted NE, E, SE, and S. During 31 December-4 January pilots reported that ash plumes rose to altitudes of 2.4-5.5 km a.s.l. and drifted SE and E.

Sangay (Ecuador). Washington VAAC reported that during 2-4 January thermal anomalies were seen in satellite imagery. On 2 January a pilot saw an ash plume drifting NW at an altitude of 7 km a.s.l. An ash plume was also reported by a pilot the next day.

Santa María (Guatemala). On 30 December and 5 January explosions from
the Santiaguito lava dome complex produced ash plumes that rose to 3-3.4 km a.s.l. and drifted W and SW. Washington VAAC reported that ash plumes seen on satellite imagery drifted more than 30 km WSW. Avalanches occasionally descended the SW flank of the dome.

Shiveluch (Russia). During 24-31 December seismic activity was above background levels, possibly indicating ash plumes rising to an altitude of 4.9 km a.s.l. Fumarolic activity was occasionally seen when the weather was clear. Analyses of satellite imagery revealed a large daily thermal anomaly from the lava dome and an ash plume that drifted 15 km W on 28 December. The Level of Concern Colour Code remained at Orange. Tokyo VAAC reported that during 30 December-3 January eruptions produced plumes that rose to 4.3-7.6 km a.s.l.

Soufrière Hills (Montserrat). During 24-31 December activity from the lava dome continued at a high level. Cycles of increased activity associated with vigorous ash venting and pyroclastic flows occurred every six to eight hours. Audible rockfalls, roaring, and occasional thunder were noted during the most intense events. Frequent pyroclastic flows traveled N down Whites Ghaut, Farrells plain, and Tyers Ghaut. Pyroclastic flows also traveled W down Gages Valley into Spring Ghaut, and occasionally to the S in Gingoes Ghaut. On 29 December several pyroclastic flows traveled 2.5 km, reaching Dyers village. A comparison of photographs from 30 December and 2 January revealed that the lava dome morphology had changed rapidly, with a significant addition of lava on the N side. The additional area of growth was approximately 60 m high and 100 m wide. The Hazard Level remained at 4.

Suwanose-jima (Japan). Tokyo VAAC reported explosions during 30 December-2 January and 4-5 January. Plumes rose to 1.5-1.8 km a.s.l. on 2 and 4 January, and drifted NE and E on 4 January.


The foregoing is a summary of the Smithsonian Institution/United States Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report covering 30 December 2009 – 5 January 2010. 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. Boris Behncke - 10 January 2010

I just came across the main web page of Chile’s Observatorio Volcanológico de los Andes del Sur (OVDAS), which I usually avoid (I bookmarked the reports page) – and found the links to a bunch of new web cams eyeing Llaima and Villarrica, which they’ve been citing in their recent reports. Just today (early morning in Chile) 10 January 2010, Villarrica shows a bright glow at its summit, marking the return of its little lava lake I suggest. Some recent unrest (plus a major snow avalanche) has been reported by POVI (http://www.povi.cl/villarrica.html).
So here are the webcams (some do not work at this moment):
Llaima from Melipeuco http://www2.sernageomin.cl/ovdas/ovdas7/webcam_llaima.html
Llaima from Cherquenco http://www2.sernageomin.cl/ovdas/ovdas7/webcam_llaima2.html
Llaima from Curacautin http://www2.sernageomin.cl/ovdas/ovdas7/webcam_llaima3.html
Llaima Yarur webcam http://www2.sernageomin.cl/ovdas/ovdas7/webcam_llaima4.html
Villarrica CVV webcam http://www2.sernageomin.cl/ovdas/ovdas7/webcam_villarrica.html (that’s currently the most spectacular image)
Villarrica from Llafenco http://www2.sernageomin.cl/ovdas/ovdas7/webcam_villarrica2.html
Villarrica from Pucon http://www2.sernageomin.cl/ovdas/ovdas7/webcam_villarrica3.html
Villarrica from Calafquen http://www2.sernageomin.cl/ovdas/ovdas7/webcam_villarrica4.html

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