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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).

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Costa Rica: eruption at Turrialba 6 January 2010

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There have been signs of increased activity at Turrialba volcano in Costa Rica for some time – a rise in gas emissions, temperature increases around the crater, new cracks in the summit area – and now comes news that there has been a small eruption, the first at Turrialba since 1866. The Costa Rican geological service Ovsicori have issued a bulletin on the eruption (PDF), which reports as follows:

On 5 January 2010 at 14:48 local time an inhabitant of the La Central area located to the south-west of Turrialba volcano reported hearing a strong eruption of Turrialba, much later people living near the volcano reported ashfall. Also, officials of the Parque Nacional Volcán Irazú reported the presence of ash in vehicles parked in the car park inside the national park. Additionally, residents of Turrialba, Tres Ríos and owners of properties on the slopes of Turrialba volcano reported ashfall.

From mid-December 2009 until 4 January 2010, LP-type earthquakes (low frequency) had been predominantly registered, with a significant decrease of volcanic tremor. On 4 January 2010 there was a significant increase in volcanic tremor, both in duration of registration and in the amplitude of the signal. Coinciding with the increase in the recording of tremor there was a significant decrease in LP-type earthquakes. In the early hours of Wednesday 6 January an OVSICORI-UNA team will go to the area to make observations and collect data and information to carry out relevant studies.

A green (preventative) alert was issued by the authorities for the area around Turrialba, and about 20 people were evacuated from the volcano’s slopes.

The volcanic deposits reported as falling in villages to the south-west of Turrialba up to 3 km from the crater were described by Ovsicori as ‘white powder’. Eliécer Duarte of Ovsicori told La Nación that ‘this is not ash. Ash is black, glassy, sharp, and causes much damage’. Duarte said that the material produced by this eruption could represent ‘a stage preceding the eruption of juvenile material’, indicating that the volcano ‘now has the capacity to erupt much heavier material into the atmosphere’. The suggestion is that the material erupted so far is pulverized old rock rather than fresh magmatic material. However, local inhabitants have insisted that the material is ‘black and sandy. A Red Cross official in one affected village has reported sulphurous smells and ashfall, and says that there are ‘black spots’ on the plastic sheeting covering crops in local plantations. The National Emergencies Commission (CNE), meanwhile, describes Turrialba’s activity in a press release as ‘a minor ash eruption with a little acid rain’.

Overall, the Costa Rican authorities seem to be regarding this event as a minor eruption, but a possible precursor of larger-scale activity to come.

For all our coverage of Turrialba: Turrialba « The Volcanism Blog.

News
Ovsicori confirma erupción de sedimento blanco del TurrialbaLa Nación, 5 January 2010
Alerta en Costa Rica por erupción de ceniza en el volcán Turrialba – EFE, 5 January 2010
Vecinos insisten en que cayó ceniza en poblados de Oreamuno y CartagoLa Nación, 5 January 2010
Tras 145 años, despierta el volcán TurrialbaEl Informador, 5 January 2010
Costa Rican volcano erupts after long silence – Reuters, 5 January 2010
Families evacuate Turrialba area as volcano acts upTico Times, 5 January 2010

Information
Global Volcanism Program: Turrialba – summary information for Turrialba (1405-07=)
Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Costa Rica – Ovsicori website
Volcán Turrialba – information from Ovsicori
Monitoreo Volcanico (Red Sismológica Nacional) – volcano monitoring updates from the Costa Rican national seismological network

The Volcanism Blog

Turrialba more active, emissions increase 13 October 2009

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Turrialba volcano in Costa Rica is not a good neighbour: its sulphur dioxide emissions spread across the adjacent countryside, particularly to the west, damaging local vegetation and ruining the local agricultural economy. Costa Rica’s Teletica news channel has been reporting on the effects of recent increases in Turrialba’s emissions, now running at between 700 and 2000 tonnes/day: ‘The green vegetation that covered the volcano has been replaced by a bright yellow, and the trees have been turned into skeletons’, local schoolchildren are having to wear breathing masks to protect them from the unhealthy effects of the gases, and even the equipment used by scientists to monitor the volcano has been damaged by accelerated corrosion (‘Turrialba volcano’s activity is a threat to surrounding villages’). Vegetation around the volcano may not recover from the damage for 20 years, and the effects on local agricultural communities have been severe: arable and livestock farmers have been forced out of business by the effects of Turrialba’s emissions, and local milk production has declined (‘Environmental damage caused by Turrialba volcano destroyes vegetation and agricultural production’). Some nearby villages have been abandoned by their inhabitants because of the effects of Turrialba’s sulphur dioxide.

Recent field investigations by Costa Rica’s geological authority OVSICORI have revealed further signs of increased activity at Turrialba: increased sulphur deposition within the active western crater and the appearance of new fissures and the widening of existing cracks on the southern rim of the west crater and low down on the north-western flank of the volcano. These new cracks are emitting gas-and-vapour fumes, adding to the emissions problem. A news report from Costa Rica’s Columbia radio station on 7 October, headed ‘Turrialba volcano is more active than ever’, says OVSICORI have also found temperature increases in the west crater, in addition to cracks and sustained emissions producing a white gas column.

Meanwhile, La Nación reports that the Costa Rican national seismological network (Red Sismológica Nacional) has registered ‘a significant fall in the number of earthquakes’ at Turrialba – but that seismicity may be on the rise at Rincón de la Vieja volcano, where ‘a significant number of minor earthquakes’ have been detected.

News
El Volcán Turrialba está más activo que nunca – Columbia, 7 October 2009
Actividad del volcán Turrialba amenaza a poblaciones cercanas – Teletica, 7 October 2009
Daño ambiental provocado por volcán Turrialba acaba con vegetación en montañas y producción agrícola – Teletica, 8 October 2009
Vulcanólogos detectan sismos leves en Rincón de la ViejaLa Nación, 12 October 2009

Information
Global Volcanism Program: Turrialba – summary information for Turrialba (1405-07=)
Global Volcanism Program: Rincón de la Vieja – summary information for Rincón de la Vieja (1405-02=)
Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Costa Rica – Ovsicori website
Volcán Turrialba – information from Ovsicori
Monitoreo Volcanico (Red Sismológica Nacional) – volcano monitoring updates from the Costa Rican national seismological network

The Volcanism Blog

SI/USGS Weekly Volcanic Activity Report 23-29 September 2009 30 September 2009

Posted by admin in activity reports, Alaska, Batu Tara, Chaitén, Chile, Costa Rica, Dieng Volcanic Complex, Dukono, eruptions, Hawaii, Indonesia, Japan, Kamchatka, Karymsky, Kilauea, Papua New Guinea, Rabaul, Redoubt, Russia, Sakura-jima, Shiveluch, Turrialba, United States, Weekly Volcanic Activity Reports.
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SI/USGS Weekly Volcanic Activity Report 23-29 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 23-29 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: Dieng Volcanic Complex (Indonesia), Karymsky (Russia), Shiveluch (Russia).

Ongoing activity: Batu Tara (Indonesia), Chaitén (Chile), Dukono (Indonesia), Kilauea (Hawaii, USA), Langila (Papua New Guinea), Rabaul (Papua New Guinea), Redoubt (Alaska, USA), Sakura-jima (Japan), Turrialba (Costa Rica).

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Turrialba: increased activity reported, some homes abandoned 2 September 2009

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The Costa Rican volcano Turrialba is showing an increase in activity, reports Univisión today (quoting an Associated Press report). The report quotes Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Costa Rica (Ovsicori) volcanologist Eliécer Duarte as saying that the volcano is in a ‘gaseous phase’ which precedes the ‘presence of solids’, with the latter represening ‘much more dramatic activity’. An Ovsicori field trip to Turrialba last week confirmed that new cracks and fumaroles had appeared on the volcano’s flanks.

Some villagers and farmers around the volcano, alarmed at its increased activity, have decided to leave their homes, reports Costa Rica’s La Nación. Many local inhabitants are particularly concerned at the damage being done to vegetation by Turrialba’s SO2-laden, acidic and very nasty emissions, which burn trees, shrubs and grasslands around the volcano and are seriously damaging local agriculture:

Some people even evacuated their dairy cattle, because of the loss of grassland, the toxicity of the gases emanating from the volcano and the fear that more animals will die because of the new vents that have appeared low down [on the volcano].

There was increased activity at Turrialba earlier this summer, and roads through the surrounding National Park were closed to visitors as a precaution.

News
Costa Rica: alertan incremento de actividad en volcán – Univisión, 2 September 2009
Vecinos dejan casas por volcán TurrialbaLa Nación, 2 September 2009

Information
Global Volcanism Program: Turrialba – summary information for Turrialba (1405-07=)
Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Costa Rica – Ovsicori website
Volcán Turrialba – information from Ovsicori

The Volcanism Blog

SI/USGS Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 10-16 June 2009 18 June 2009

Posted by admin in activity reports, Alaska, Batu Tara, Chaitén, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dukono, Ebeko, Ecuador, eruptions, Galeras, Hawaii, Indonesia, Japan, Kamchatka, Kilauea, Kliuchevskoi, Mexico, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Popocatépetl, Rabaul, Redoubt, Rinjani, Russia, Sakura-jima, Sangay, Sarychev Peak, Shiveluch, Slamet, Suwanose-jima, Tungurahua, Turrialba, Ubinas, United States, Weekly Volcanic Activity Reports.
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SI/USGS Weekly Volcanic Activity Report 10-16 June 2009

The Smithsonian Institution/United States Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report covering 10-16 June 2009 is available on the Global Volcanism Program website. The following is a summary and not a substitute for the full report.

New activity: Rinjani (Indonesia), Sangay (Ecuador), Sarychev Peak (Russia).

Ongoing activity: Batu Tara (Indonesia), Chaitén (Chile), Dukono (Indonesia), Ebeko (Russia), Galeras (Colombia), Kilauea (USA), Kliuchevskoi (Russia), Popocatépetl (Mexico), Rabaul (Papua New Guinea), Redoubt (USA), Sakura-jima (Japan), Shiveluch (Russia), Suwanose-jima (Japan), Tungurahua (Ecuador), Turrialba (Costa Rica), Ubinas (Peru).

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Turrialba’s unwelcome emissions 26 April 2009

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Turrialba volcano in Costa Rica, a massive 3340-metre high stratovolcano, has been quiescent since a series of explosive eruptions in the mid-nineteenth century. The last eruption sequence lasted from August 1864 to February 1866, ending with a VEI=3 event producing pyroclastic flows, lahars and thick ashfall. There have been no further explosive eruptions but seismicity began to increase in the late 1990s and fumarolic activity became more pronounced in the early 2000s. The threat of renewed explosive activity remains.*

The main hazard Turrialba is presenting at the moment, however, is a non-eruptive one. As part of the generalized upswing in activity over the past few years, levels of sulphur dioxide in the volcano’s emissions increased greatly, reports the USGS, from around 140 tonnes/day in late 2007 to 1100-2000 tonnes/day in summer 2008. The most recently available figures on Turrialba’s SO2 flux come from the 4th Ticosonde Workshop (PDF) held at Costa Rica’s Universidad Nacional on 26 March 2009: a presentation by Dr Sebastián Miranda of the Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Costa Rica (Oviscori) reported that emissions have recently shown a decline, with an average SO2 flux for the period December 2008 to February 2009 of 250 tonnes/day.

This recent decline notwithstanding, Turrialba’s SO2 emissions have had a dramatic effect on local vegetation. Sulphur dioxide is damaging to plants in high concentrations, but the effects of long exposure to even relatively low concentrations are potentially much more destructive. causing growth reduction, burning and damage to foliage (foliar necrosis) and yellowing due to a lack of chlorophyll (chlorosis). Vegetation situated below a persistent SO2-rich volcanic plume will be severely affected, while acid rain generated by the SO2 concentrations may spread the damage even further.

An article in the Costa Rican newspaper La Nación today makes it clear how serious the problem is. Headed ‘Daños por volcán Turrialba ganan terreno este año’ (‘Damage from Turrialba volcano gains ground this year’) it describes the severe problems the persistent exposure to the volcanic emissions has caused. Javier Coto, who farms land near Turrialba, reports that ‘today we have only dry grass. Here everything is bad. The barbed wire fences crumble and the iron roofing rots away’. Workers at a nearby dairy wear masks to help them cope with the ‘almost unbearable’ sulphurous smell of the gases, and the burning of pastures affects milk production. The area affected by Turrialba’s emissions has expanded, according to Ovsicori scientists, increasing the impact on local agriculture:

In the areas closer to the mountain, the damage caused by the burning ‘is irreversible’, says scientist Eliécer Duarte of Oviscori. ‘In the area of the summit of Cerro San Juan (near the crater of Turrialba) all the vegetation is totally dead. Shrubs that have shown little effect on other occasions … are today completely burned on their surface and into the wood. Small plants, shrubs and trees of low habit are covered with a fine coating of sulphur.’

Wind patterns and the effects of the increase in emissions are responsible for the greater degree of damage this year, say experts from Ovsicori.

Meanwhile, the most recent studies of Turrialba by the Costa Rica National Seismological Network indicate increased seismicity, with a growth in the numbers of hybrid and superficial volcano-tectonic earthquakes being recorded, El Azucarero reported this week.

* For a clear overview of Turrialba’s eruptive history and hazard potential, see M. Reagan, E. Duarte, G. J. Soto & E. Fernández, ‘The eruptive history of Turrialba volcano, Costa Rica, and potential hazards from future eruptions’, in William I. Rose, Gregg J. S. Bluth, Michael J. Carr, John W. Ewert, Lina C. Patino & James W. Vallance, Volcanic Hazards in Central America (Boulder, CO: Geological Society of America, 2006), pp. 235-57.

News
Daños por volcán Turrialba ganan terreno este añoLa Nación, 26 April 2009
Geólogos detectan incremento sísmico en el Volcán TurrialbaEl Azucarero, 24 April 2009

Information
Global Volcanism Program: Turrialba – summary information for Turrialba (1405-07=)
Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Costa Rica – Ovsicori website
Volcán Turrialba – information from Ovsicori

The Volcanism Blog

Turrialba: presence of helium suggests magma build-up 9 April 2008

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An analysis of gas collected from Turrialba volcano, Costa Rica, has revealed the presence of high proportions of helium in one of three samples collected on 7 and 8 March, according to a report in La Nación today. This suggests that magma may be building up within the volcano.

The gas sampling at Turrialba is being undertaken by a scientific team from the Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Costa Rica (Ovsicori), part of the Universidad Nacional (UNA), while scientists at the Universidad de Costa Rica (UCR) have been carrying out the gas analysis. The UCR mass spectrometer analysis of the three gas samples revealed the presence of helium at a far higher level than normal: ‘We are talking about a difference of three orders of magnitude’ reports Jorge Andrés Díaz of the UCR.

Information
Smithsonian Institution Global Volcanism Program – summary information for Turrialba (1405-07=)
Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Costa Rica – Ovsicori news page, including latest bulletins (which are in PDF format)
Volcán Turrialba – information from Ovsicori

News
Helio sugiere formación de magma en volcán TurrialbaLa Nación, 9 April 2008 (Spanish)

The Volcanism Blog

Activity at Turrialba, Costa Rica 6 December 2007

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Turrialba volcano, Costa Rica, began discharging gas and vapour on Wednesday 5 December 2007. The Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Costa Rica reported that by 05:40 local time (11:40 GMT) on 5 December a 2km column of gas and vapour was visible. The volcano, which is 40km east of the Costa Rican capital San José and overlooks the city of Cartago, last erupted in 1866. It has been subject to close observation since an increase in seismic and fumarolic activity in May 2007.

Information
Smithsonian Institution Global Volcanism Program – summary information for Turrialba (1405-07=)
Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Costa Rica – news page, including latest bulletins (which are in PDF format)
Red Sismológica Nacional, Costa Rica – Turrialba image gallery

News
Costa Rica volcano begins spewing gas, vapor – Inquirer.net, Philippines (6 Dec 2007)
Turrialba volcano acts up – Tico Times, Costa Rica (6 Dec 2007)
Dormant volcano in Costa Rica began discharging vapor and gas – AHN (6 Dec 2007)

The Volcanism Blog