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SI/USGS Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 29 December 2010 – 4 January 2011 8 January 2011

Posted by admin in activity reports, Bezymianny, Bulusan, Caribbean, Colombia, Ecuador, eruptions, Etna, Fuego, Gaua, Guatemala, Hawaii, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Kamchatka, Karymsky, Kilauea, Kizimen, Machín, Manam, Pacific, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Russia, Sakura-jima, Santa María, Shiveluch, Soufrière Hills, Stromboli, Suwanose-jima, Tengger Caldera, Tungurahua, United States, Vanuatu, Weekly Volcanic Activity Reports.
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The Smithsonian Institution and United States Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Reports enter their second decade of chronicling what the world’s volcanoes are up to with this week’s report, which covers 29 December 2010 to 4 January 2011 and is compiled by Sally Kuhn Sennert. Some selected highlights:

  • Etna: light ashfall, incandescence, vigorous strombolian activity
  • Manam: new eruptive episode – ash plumes, some dense; incandescence; pyroclastic flows
  • Stromboli: increase in the frequency and intensity of explosions from the S1 vent
  • Machín: increase in low-magnitude volcanic-tectonic seismicity recorded

SI/USGS Weekly Volcanic Activity Report 29 December 2010 - 4 January 2011

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

The Smithsonian Institution/United States Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report for 29 December 2010 – 4 January 2011 is now available on the Global Volcanism Program website. The following is a summary and not a substitute for the full report.

New activity/unrest: Etna (Italy), Kizimen (Russia), Manam (Papua New Guinea), Stromboli (Italy).

Ongoing activity: Bezymianny (Russia), Bulusan (Philippines), Fuego (Guatemala), Gaua (Vanuatu), Karymsky (Russia), Kilauea (Hawaii, USA), Machín (Colombia), Sakura-jima (Japan), Santa María (Guatemala), Shiveluch (Russia), Soufrière Hills (Montserrat), Suwanose-jima (Japan), Tengger Caldera (Indonesia), Tungurahua (Ecuador).

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SI/USGS Weekly Volcanic Activity Report 15-21 September 2010 23 September 2010

Posted by admin in activity reports, Alaska, Batu Tara, Chile, Cleveland, Colombia, Dukono, Ecuador, eruptions, Hawaii, Indonesia, Japan, Kamchatka, Karymsky, Kilauea, Kliuchevskoi, Machín, Manam, Papua New Guinea, Planchón-Peteroa, Russia, Sakura-jima, Sangay, Shiveluch, Sinabung, Suwanose-jima, United States, Weekly Volcanic Activity Reports.
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Here is the Weekly Volcanic Activity Report for 15-21 September 2010, published by the Global Volcanism Program and compiled by Sally Kuhn Kennert. Some highlights:

  • Cleveland: a thermal anomaly has been detected
  • Machín: elevated seismic activity including shallow volcanic-tectonic earthquakes beneath the lava dome
  • Planchón-Peteroa: an ash plume reached an altitude of 6.1 km

SI/USGS Weekly Volcanic Activity Report 15-21 September 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 15-21 September 2010 is now available on the Global Volcanism Program website. The following is a summary and not a substitute for the full report.

New activity/unrest: Cleveland (Alaska, USA), Kliuchevskoi (Russia), Machín (Colombia), Manam (Papua New Guinea), Planchón-Peteroa (Chile), Sinabung (Indonesia).

Ongoing activity: Batu Tara (Indonesia), Dukono (Indonesia), Karymsky (Russia), Kilauea (Hawaii, USA), Sakura-jima (Japan), Sangay (Ecuador), Shiveluch (Russia), Suwanose-jima (Japan).

Note: a.s.l. = ‘above sea level’.

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Colombian volcano update: Galeras, Huila, Machín 15 September 2010

Posted by admin in activity reports, Colombia, Galeras, Machín, Nevado del Huila.
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Galeras erupted on 25 August: the Colombian geological authority INGEOMINAS described the eruption as ‘of low explosivity’. Ashfall was reported up to 30 km NW of the volcano, and an evacuation order was issued affecting about 7000 people (although as usual few people heeded the evacuation) there were no casualties and no reports of damage. The alert level was raised to the highest level of Red on 25 August and lowered to Orange on the following day. Tremors continued for 12 hours following the eruption before gradually declining. Evidence gathered during an overflight by INGEOMINAS on 26 August suggested that a new crater had been opened by the eruption on Galeras’s north flank. On 7 September INGEOMINAS lowered the alert level to Yellow, at which level Galeras remains. The latest bulletin (14 September) reports a low level of seismic activity and minor gas-and-ash emissions. There have been some signs of deformation since 9 September at the summit of the volcano.

Nevado del Huila has a tendency to produce sulphur dioxide emissions, and SO2 plumes from the volcano have been detected frequently since the middle of June. The level of seismicity and its intensity increased, with a greater number of shallow hybrid earthquakes beneath the main summit (Pico Central). Because of this change in Huila’s seismic behaviour, INGEOMINAS raised the alert level for the volcano from Yellow to the second-highest level of Orange on 15 June. Low-level activity continued during June, July and August, with SO2 emissions, fluctuating seismicity and small ash emissions being reported. The alert level was returned to Yellow on 6 July and remained at that level until 9 September, when a marked increase in volcanic tremor and emissions/incandescence at the summit (‘very recurrent and energetic pulses of tremor, associated with pulsing surface emissions of gas, ashes and incandescent material’) prompted INGEOMINAS to raise the alert level to Orange. The Colombian authorities have advised local residents to leave the area, and municipalities around the volcano have been making emergency preparations. The most recent bulletin of 14 September reports continuing high levels of seismicity with pulses of tremor associated with emissions of gas, ash and incandescent material, whitish-blue and grey emissions columns reaching up to 2 kilometres above the summit, and high concentrations of SO2. Nevado del Huila remains on Orange alert, ‘eruption probable within days or weeks’.

Machín experienced a volcanic-tectonic earthquake of magnitude 2.6 at 3.87 km depth yesterday, which was felt by residents in nearby towns. Seismic unrest was noted at Machín earlier this summer: on 24 July INGEOMINAS reported a ‘seismic crisis’ characterized by an increase in relatively shallow volcanic-tectonic earthquakes.  Machín has been on Yellow alert for a long time, and remains at that level.

Information
Global Volcanism Program: Galeras – summary information for Galeras (1501-08=)
Global Volcanism Program: Nevado del Huila – summary information for Nevado del Huila (1501-05=)
Global Volcanism Program: Machín – summary information for Machín (1501-04=)
Instituto Colombiano de Geología y Minería – main page for INGEOMINAS

The Volcanism Blog

Alert level raised at Cerro Machín 7 December 2009

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Machin volcano, Colombia, 10 November 2008 (copyright INGEOMINAS)
Machín volcano, Colombia, 10 November 2008 (image copyright INGEOMINAS).

A seismic swarm on Saturday has provoked the Colombian state geological service INGEOMINAS to raise the alert level for Machín volcano in western central Colombia to Yellow (III), ‘ changes in the behaviour of the volcanic activity’.

According to a report in El Espectador, ’54 minor [earth] movements took place over the weekend at El Machín volcano. The largest of these was at 1.3 on the Richter scale. The seismic swarm took place from 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, and although small, is the largest to have occurred in 2009, after strong activity in 2008′. No bulletin on developments at Machín has yet been published on the Manizales Volcanological Observatory web site.

Any reactivation of Machín would pose a substantial threat to a populous area of Colombia, including the large city of Ibagué (approximate population 500,000).

UPDATE, 9 December 2009. A commenter at Erik Klemetti’s Eruptions blog observes that INGEOMINAS has had Machín at Yellow Alert for ages, and thinking back over my visits to the Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Manizales site (where Machín bulletins are rather thin on the ground) it does seem that the yellow square has been a permanent fixture. I suspect the local press picked up on this activity because it’s the first for a while, and because the national government has prioritized a potential eruption of Machín as one of the principal natural disasters Colombia may have to deal with. In any case, the latest earthquake swarm is significant, and emphasizes the point that Machín needs careful monitoring.

News
54 sismos en volcán El Machín llevan a declarar alerta amarillaEl Espectador, 7 December 2009
En alerta Amarilla el volcán MachínSemana, 7 December 2009
Authorities declare yellow alert for Machin volcanoColombia Reports, 7 December 2009

Information
Global Volcanism Program: Machín – information about Machín volcano (1501-04=)
Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Manizales – INGEOMINAS observatory responsible for monitoring Machín
Volcán Machín – information, maps and pictures

The Volcanism Blog

Machín volcano: disaster prevention in Colombia 4 September 2009

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‘An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’, said the always quotable Benjamin Franklin in 1735. The principle applies to natural disasters as it does to other areas of life: it is surely better to prevent a catastrophe than have to pay for clearing up afterwards. The practical application, however, can present problems, for how is a volcanic eruption to be prevented? The answer is that it can’t, but its potential for disaster can be reduced by, for example, evacuating nearby at-risk populations so that an eruption does not turn into a disaster. This is one of the preventive strategies being followed in Colombia.

The government of Colombia has prioritized three potential natural disasters as targets for a strategy of prevention: an earthquake in the national capital, Bogotá, a Pacific tsunami, and an eruption of Machín volcano. Cerro Machín is in central western Colombia and overlooks the city of Ibagué (population approximately 500,000), 17 km to the east. The last eruption was about 800 years ago. Any new activity would pose considerable dangers for Ibagué and surrounding agricultural areas – and recently Machín has been showing signs of restlessness, with increased seismicity and some ash emission late last year provoking widespread alarm, and a further earthquake swarm at the end of July this year.

The authorities in Colombia aim to reduce the hazard potential of Machín by carrying out a comprehensive survey of the volcano and its surroundings, identifying areas of high danger and establishing evacuation routes, educating the local population about volcanic hazards, and moving people away from the volcano. The local (Tolima) edition of the Colombian newspaper El Tiempo reports that the programme of buying local farmers out of their properties in areas threatened by volcanic hazards is under way, but that there are legal problems over land titles. An ‘inventory of facilities and physical resources’ has been completed (which presumably includes the identification of evacuation routes) and education efforts are progressing, but are handicapped by lack of money: ‘one of the obstacles encountered is the lack of finance (about 100 million pesos) for the distribution of a booklet that allows the population under threat just to identify the evacuation routes’.

News
Erupción del Volcán Machín se encuentra entre las tres prioridades nacionales de prevenciónEl Tiempo, 4 September 2009

Information
Global Volcanism Program: Machín – information about Machín volcano (1501-04=)
Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Manizales – INGEOMINAS observatory responsible for monitoring Machín
Volcán Machín – information, maps and pictures

The Volcanism Blog

Colombia evacuates at-risk populations around Huila and Machín 28 January 2009

Posted by admin in Colombia, Machín, natural hazards, Nevado del Huila, volcano monitoring.
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Where you have substantial populations living in close proximity to active and dangerous volcanoes, you can’t move the volcano but you can move the people. Colombia appears to have embarked upon a policy of relocating the populations of volcanically at-risk areas, beginning with Nevado del Huila and Cerro Machín.

The news from Colombia is that the national government is moving quickly to carry into effect its decision to evacuate Belalcázar, the town most at risk from an eruption of Nevado del Huila. If that is so, it is probably a good thing. A report published in El Espectador on 25 January 2009 paints a bleak picture of life in the town since a large part of it was destroyed by lahars unleashed through the Páez valley by Huila’s November 2008 eruption.

Belalcázar High School (reports El Espectador) was left ruined and classes for its 1200 students are suspended until further notice, says the principal, Sister María Odilia Perdomo Leiva: ‘The laboratories, cinema, books, documents, chairs, desks and computers were devoured by the river’. Looting has taken place in flood-damaged properties. The price of almost everything has gone up since the damage to bridges and roads left the town almost isolated. Internet and telephone connections are unreliable. The mayor of the town ordered the construction of a pedestrian bridge across the Páez, ‘but the work was badly done and the structure collapsed’, causing an accident that injured a child. The only way of crossing river is the tarabita, a form of cable-car, and locals complain that the fare for using the cable is extortionate: ‘a means of communication has been converted into a means of profit for the owners of the cable’.

The Belalcázar municipal authorities have been saying that the relocation process will take a long time – the secretary of the town government, Eloy Muñoz Salazar, is quoted as saying that he did not believe the evacuation would happen this year: ‘It will take a long time, there will be a social, economic, structural and populational study before the evacuation of the town begins’. The atmosphere in the town has been one of anxiety. ‘The streets are nearly empty and the population gathers in the central park during the day to talk about the future of the town, since the municipal authorities do not seem to know anything … In the shops, stores and bars of Belalcázar the talk is of the relocation’. Of course, there is a human cost to relocation, with people unhappy at having to leave their home town, worried about recouping the value of the property they will be leaving behind, and concerned about where they will end up and what the future will bring.

In the last few days, however, it seems that the national government has decided to end any uncertainty by acting without any of the prolonged studies predicted by Muñoz Salazar, motivated no doubt by the current INGEOMINAS forecast of an eruption of Huila ‘within days or weeks’. The National Emergencies Directorate has confirmed the beginning of the ‘final relocation of most of the inhabitants of Belalcázar municipality in Cauca department’, reports Caracol Radio:

In the first instance 800 families will leave who would be at high risk in the event of a fifth eruption of Huila volcano, provoking an avalanche that would descend the valleys of the Páez and Simbola rivers. The town is located on the left bank of the Páez river, less than one kilometre from where the Simbola river empties into the course of the forementioned river, thus forming the point of greatest risk in the event of an avalanche. Luz Amanda Pulido, director of national emergencies, told Caracol Radio that there is no estimate of how much the relocation will cost.

According to [Pulido], the national government will provide the resources necessary for moving these families from the zone of risk.

La Patria also reports that 800 families will begin to be relocated this week. ‘”The process is in the hands of the communities. They are the ones who will tell us of the most suitable sites for their relocation”, said Luz Amanda Pulido, director of the Sistema Nacional de Atención y Prevención de Desastres’. In the same story, La Patria reports that similar preventive measures are being taken around Machín volcano, which has been showing signs of restlessness recently:

As well as Nevado del Huila, action is also being taken at Machín volcano in Tolima. Cortolima and Invias are readying evacuation routes and purchasing land in at-risk areas … The director of the Corporación Autónoma del Tolima, Cortolima, Carmen Sofía Bonilla, announced that the work being done with the Instituto Geográfico Agustín Codazzi, Igac, concerned with the valuation and purchase of 45 properties that are close to the volcano, is advancing satisfactorily, and that priority is being given to 7 sites around the dome.

It seems that the Colombian government is determined to address the dangers posed by its volcanoes by moving people from harm’s way wherever possible, rather than risking another Armero. The larger the population, of course, the more complex and expensive relocation becomes: no-one is suggesting moving Pasto (population 450,000) from its location at the foot of Galeras. If you can’t move everyone, it is vital to keep them as safe as possible through effective and robust monitoring and early warning systems, evacuation procedures, and public information policies.

For all our Nevado del Huila coverage: Nevado del Huila « The Volcanism Blog.

News
Comenzó desaparición de BelalcázarEl Espectador, 25 January 2009
800 familias abandonarán Belalcázar ante la amenaza del Huila – Caracol Radio, 26 January 2009
El Gobierno nacional dio la orden de salida de los pobladores de Belalcázar (Cauca)La Patria, 26 January 2009

Information
Global Volcanism Program: Nevado del Huila – summary information for Nevado del Huila (1501-05=)
Portal Corporativo de INGEOMINAS – main page for the Instituto Colombiano de Geología y Minería
INGEOMINAS Popayán – main page for the Observatorio Popayán, which monitors Nevado del Huila

The Volcanism Blog

Volcán Cerro Machín – new website 15 December 2008

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Cerro Machín in Colombia showed some significant activity recently and, although things are quiet at the moment, the volcano continues to cause concern: an eruption at Machín has the potential to be very hazardous and destructive. With this in mind a new website intended to provide extensive information about the volcano and its activity is to be welcomed. The site is still being developed, but already provides many images, videos, and informative maps including a hazard map compiled from INGEOMINAS sources.

We’ll be including the Volcán Machín site in the ‘information’ section of future Volcanism Blog posts on Cerro Machín.

The Volcanism Blog

Things are quieter at Cerro Machín 12 November 2008

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The alert level at Colombia’s Cerro Machín volcano remains at a cautious level III, yellow (where level I, red, is the highest), but INGEOMINAS Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Manizales reports ‘normality’ in the volcano’s activity and a decrease in seismicity in its latest bulletin (dated 11 November 2008):

During 8, 9 and 10 November the volcano Cerro Machín registered a seismic event within which 1210 volcano-tectonic earthquakes were recorded (associated with the fracturing of rock in the interior of the volcano), 9 of which were with magnitudes greater than 2.5, several being heard by the inhabitants of Cajamarca, Ibagué, Calarcá and Armenia, among others.

The inclinometers located around the volcano showed significant changes, associated with the principal event of 9 November at 03:01.

On 9 November an INGEOMINAS commission went to the volcano Machín with the aim of evaluating conditions at the volcano. The report submitted is of complete normality in the activity of the volcano, the cracking of some houses and landslides caused by seismic movement, associated with ground conditions of high humidity.

From 10:00 yesterday, Monday 10 November, the seismic activity of the volcano decreased notably and at the time of publication of this communication the levels of seismic activity are low.

The tremors and ashfall of Sunday and Monday produced great alarm among local populations but also, reports La Patria, ‘strengthened the solidarity of the community’. Some 500 people from farming communities around Cerro Machín who fled their homes are being accommodated in Ibagué, in a relief operation co-ordinated by the Red Cross. Local residents are helping to provide food and other supplies for the refugees. The recent activity from Machín and Nevado del Huila volcanoes, writes El País, ‘holds half the country in suspense’. Perhaps it will raise awareness of the potential dangers posed by Colombia’s volcanoes, which may well be needed: last week, reports El Tiempo, INGEOMINAS held a community emergency training event for the residents of areas around Machín, ‘but no-one attended’.

News
El Machín fortalece la solidaridad de comunidadLa Patria, 11 November 2008
Volcanes tienen en vilo a medio paísEl País, 12 November 2008
Por falta de plan de evacuación, Ingeominas lanza campanazo de alerta al TolimaEl Tiempo, 10 November 2008

Information
Global Volcanism Program: Machín – information about Machín volcano (1501-04=)
Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Manizales – INGEOMINAS observatory responsible for monitoring Machín
Portal Corporativo de INGEOMINAS – Instituto Colombiano de Geología y Minería (INGEOMINAS) main page

The Volcanism Blog

Alert at Cerro Machín, Colombia 10 November 2008

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The Colombian media this morning is full of reports of an alarming rise in activity at Cerro Machín. El Tiempo reports that about 500 inhabitants of areas near the volcano have fled to the nearby town of Cajamarca, where the authorities are providing shelter, following earth tremors and the eruption of ash. A report in Diario Occidente also speaks of ‘landslides and earthquakes’ being triggered by the ‘strong activity’ of the volcano since yesterday: ‘the emergency authorities have reported no injuries so far, but there is panic among the local population’.

On 8 November the volcanologists at INGEOMINAS reported an increase in seismicity at Machín, recording 122 volcano-tectonic earthquakes between 12:40 and 14:42 at depths of between 2 and 5km, below and to the east of the crater. In their latest Machín bulletin, of 9 November 2008, INGEOMINAS reports that ‘from 3am on Sunday 9 November there was a swarm of approximately 375 earthquakes below and towards the eastern sector of the dome of Machín’ with depths between 2.5 and 5km. Six of the earthquakes had magnitudes greater than 2.5, three of them with magnitudes greater than 3.0. Inclinometers around the volcano are reported to have shown ‘significant changes’, indicating that inflation is under way. According to the report in El Tiempo a further earthquake of 3.9M has occurred since the appearance of that report; there has also been a strong smell of sulphur in the vicinity of the volcano, and some ashfall, with ash deposits being carried downstream by local rivers.

Cerro Machín is now on alert level III (yellow), where I (red) is the highest level.

News
Sigue alerta por actividad de los volcanes Machín y Huila. Riesgo de erupción provoca desplazamientoEl Tiempo, 10 November 2008 (Spanish)
Volcán Machín causa caosDiario Occidente, 10 November 2008 (Spanish)
Estables pero en alerta permanecen los volcanes Machín y Nevado del HuilaEl País, 10 November 2008 (Spanish)
Alerta amarilla por actividad sísmica del volcán MachínEl Espectador, 10 November 2008 (Spanish)

Information
Global Volcanism Program: Machín – information about Machín volcano (1501-04=)
Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Manizales – INGEOMINAS observatory responsible for monitoring Machín
Portal Corporativo de INGEOMINAS – Instituto Colombiano de Geología y Minería (INGEOMINAS) main page

The Volcanism Blog