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SI/USGS Weekly Volcanic Activity Report 13-19 January 2010 21 January 2010

Posted by admin in activity reports, Africa, Arenal, Caribbean, Chaitén, Chile, Congo (Dem. Rep.), Costa Rica, Ecuador, eruptions, Gaua, Hawaii, Japan, Kamchatka, Karymsky, Kharimkotan, Kilauea, Kliuchevskoi, Nyamuragira, Papua New Guinea, Planchón-Peteroa, Rabaul, Russia, Sakura-jima, Sangay, Shiveluch, Soufrière Hills, Suwanose-jima, Tungurahua, Turrialba, United States, Vanuatu, Weekly Volcanic Activity Reports.
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Some of the volcanic activity headlines this week:

  • Kharimkotan: Kuril volcano shows a thermal anomaly
  • Soufrière Hills: activity ramps up with 5.5-7.6 km ash plumes
  • Tungurahua: big explosions rattle windows
  • Arenal: strombolian eruptions from Arenal’s crater C

SI/USGS Weekly Volcanic Activity Report 13-19 January 2010

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

The Smithsonian Institution/United States Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report for 13-19 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: Kharimkotan (Russia), Nyamuragira (Democratic Republic of Congo), Soufrière Hills (Montserrat), Tungurahua (Ecuador), Turrialba (Costa Rica).

Ongoing activity: Arenal (Costa Rica), Chaitén (Chile), Gaua (Vanuatu), Karymsky (Russia), Kilauea (Hawaii, USA), Kliuchevskoi (Russia), Planchón-Peteroa (Chile), Rabaul (Papua New Guinea), Sakura-jima (Japan), Sangay (Ecuador), Shiveluch (Russia), Suwanose-jima (Japan).

Note: a.s.l. = ‘above sea level’.


Kharimkotan (Russia). On 15 January a thermal anomaly was detected from Severgin cone.

Nyamuragira (Democratic Republic of Congo). Sulphur dioxide-and-steam plumes reported on 18 January possibly contained ash. An ash cloud was visible in satellite imagery the next day.

Soufrière Hills (Montserrat). During 8-15 January activity from the lava dome increased significantly. One explosion on 8 January and two on 10 January generated ash plumes that rose to 5.5-7.6 km a.s.l. Ash fell in occupied areas to the NW, along with lapilli fall on 10 January. The explosions occurred from an area on the NE side of the volcano. Pyroclastic flows from column collapses moved rapidly NE (down Whites Bottom and Tuitts Ghaut), NW (down Tyers Ghaut and Belham Valley), W (down Gages Ghaut), and the SE (down the Tar River Valley). After the explosions activity decreased until 12 January, when cycles of increased numbers of rockfalls, pyroclastic flows, and ash venting were noted. Observations during 8-15 January revealed that dome growth resumed at the top, central part of the dome. On 18 January, a partial lava dome collapse generated a pyroclastic flow that traveled W down Gages Valley, into Spring Ghaut, and then WSW down Aymers Ghaut, reaching the sea. Ash plumes rose to 3 km a.s.l. and drifted W. Smoke from burning houses in Kinsale was visible after the event. The Hazard Level remained at 4.

Tungurahua (Ecuador). During 13-14 January explosions ejected incandescent material 1 km above and 1.5 km away from the crater, onto the flanks. Explosions produced noises resembling ‘cannon shots’ and caused windows and structures to vibrate. Gas-and-ash plumes rose to 7-8 km a.s.l. and drifted W and SW, causing ashfall. On 15 January, although meteorological clouds mostly prevented observations, an ash plume was seen rising to 6 km a.s.l. Cloud cover prevented observations during the next two days. On 17 January, ashfall was reported in areas W and SW. Lahars descended drainages to the W and NW, causing the road to Baños to close. On 18 January, Strombolian activity ejected incandescent blocks and an ash plume rose to 6 km a.s.l. Explosions caused windows and structures to vibrate. Ashfall was reported in areas W and SW on 18 and 19 January.

Turrialba (Costa Rica). Gas plumes containing some ash were reported on 16 January. Ash was not visible in satellite imagery on 17 or 18 January.


Arenal (Costa Rica). During December activity originating from Crater C consisted of gas emissions, sporadic Strombolian eruptions, and occasional avalanches that traveled down the W and SW flanks. Acid rain and small amounts of ejected pyroclastic material affected the NE and SE flanks.

Chaitén (Chile). An ash plume from the lava dome complex drifted NNE on 14 January at 1.8 km a.s.l. A steam-and-gas plume drifted NE at the same altitude on 15 January.

Gaua (Vanuatu). On 13 January it was reported that the ash emissions that had become denser and darker on 14 December continued. Ashfall persisted in the W part of the island and satellite imagery showed gas emissions. The Vanuatu Volcano Alert Level (VVAL) remained at 2 (on a scale of 0-4).

Karymsky (Russia). During 8-15 January seismic activity was above background levels, possibly indicating that ash plumes rose to 3 km a.s.l. Analyses of satellite imagery revealed an almost daily thermal anomaly over the volcano and ash plumes that drifted 113 km SE on 12 and 13 January. The Level of Concern Colour Code remained at Orange.

Kilauea (Hawaii, USA). An active lava surface about 200 m below a vent in the floor of Kilauea’s Halema’uma’u crater was reported during 13-19 January. The lava surface occasionally spattered, and both rose and drained through a hole in the cavity floor. A plume from the vent drifted mainly SW, dropping small amounts of ash, and occasionally fresh spatter, downwind. On 14 January, the lava surface suddenly rose to very high levels multiple times; the highest level was about 120 m below the floor of Halema’uma’u crater. Thermal anomalies from the areas above the pali, detected from satellites on the same day, indicated that lava emissions from the Thanksgiving Eve Breakout vent had resumed. Lava flows were noted during 17-19 January.

Kliuchevskoi (Russia). During 8-15 January seismic activity was above background levels and lava continued to flow down the NW flank. Strombolian activity periodically ejected material above the crater. Phreatic explosions were seen from the front of the lava flow, which was about 1.2 km in length. Satellite imagery also revealed a large daily thermal anomaly at the volcano. During 12-14 January, gas-and-steam plumes rose to 6.8 km a.s.l. and drifted E. The Level of Concern Colour Code remained at Orange. Tokyo VAAC reported an ash plume rising to 9 km a.s.l. and drifting N on 18 January.

Planchón-Peteroa (Chile). Fumarolic plumes rising to 250 m were reported on 4, 6, and 7 January. Increased fumarolic activity is common on the warmest days in the summer when snow melts in the crater and more steam is produced.

Rabaul (Papua New Guinea). Darwin VAAC reported that an ash plume from Tavurvur cone rose to 2.4 km a.s.l.

Sakura-jima (Japan). During 13-19 January multiple explosions from Sakura-jima often produced plumes that rose to 1.5-2.7 km a.s.l. and drifted SE and E. On 16 and 18 January, pilots reported that ash plumes drifted SE at 2.4-3 km a.s.l.

Sangay (Ecuador). On 14 January an ash plume rose to 7.3 km a.s.l. Ash was not identified in satellite imagery, although weather clouds were present in the area.

Shiveluch (Russia). During 8-15 January seismic activity was above background levels, possibly indicating ash plumes rising to 6.2 km a.s.l. Analyses of satellite imagery revealed a large daily thermal anomaly from the lava dome and an ash plume that drifted 8 km SW on 13 January. The Level of Concern Colour Code remained at Orange. Tokyo VAAC reported that on 18 January an eruption produced a plume that rose to 4.9 km a.s.l.

Suwanose-jima (Japan). Tokyo VAAC reported explosions from Suwanose-jima during 13 and 16-17 January. Details of possible resulting emissions were not reported.


The foregoing is a summary of the Smithsonian Institution/United States Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report covering 13-19 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. Brenda F. - 24 January 2010

are you responsible for monitoring suwanose jima?

2. admin - 25 January 2010

Strangely enough, no.

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