Volcanic Eruptions

  • Continuous explosive activity at Suwanosejima volcano, Japan

    Continuous explosive activity was reported at Japan's Suwanosejima volcano over the past several days, with another eruption recorded on Thursday, August 6, 2020, in which the ash plume reached up to 2.3 km (7 000 feet) a.s.l. The Alert Level remains at 2 (on a 5-level scale) since December 1, 2007.

    JMA is reporting continuous activity at Suwanosejima volcano over the past weeks, with several notable explosions and nighttime incandescence at Ontake Crater.

    An explosion on July 27 generated a gray plume that rose as high as 2 km (6 550 feet) above the crater rim.

    According to the Tokyo VAAC, ash plumes rose to 1.8 - 2.4 km (6 000 - 8 000 ft) a.s.l. from August 1 to 3 and drifted NW and W.

    On August 4, a satellite image from Tropomi showed strong sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions that extended to the south of the volcano across the Pacific Ocean.

    According to Tokyo VAAC, the last eruption at the volcano took place at around 01:21 UTC (10:21 LT) on August 6, spewing ash up to 2.3 km (7 000 feet) a.s.l., extending NE.

    Geological summary

    The 8 km (5 miles) long, spindle-shaped island of Suwanosejima in the northern Ryukyu Islands consists of an andesitic stratovolcano with two historically active summit craters. The summit is truncated by a large breached crater extending to the sea on the east flank that was formed by edifice collapse.

    Suwanosejima, one of Japan's most frequently active volcanoes, was in a state of intermittent strombolian activity from Otake, the NE summit crater, that began in 1949 and lasted until 1996, after which periods of inactivity lengthened.

    The largest historical eruption took place in 1813-14 when thick scoria deposits blanketed residential areas, and the SW crater produced two lava flows that reached the western coast.

    At the end of the eruption, the summit of Otake collapsed forming a large debris avalanche and creating the horseshoe-shaped Sakuchi caldera, which extends to the eastern coast. The island remained uninhabited for about 70 years after the 1813-1814 eruption. Lava flows reached the eastern coast of the island in 1884. Only about 50 people live on the island.

  • Global Volcanic Activity Heating Up, as Earthquakes Intensify

    The volcanic unrest is increasing around the world.

    There are currently 26 volcanoes erupting around the world and 13 showing enhanced activity. More than 100 earthquakes have been reported near or at volcanic peaks

    The Ring of Fire is currently heating up. As shown in the map above, there are 26 erupting volcanoes (red), 13 showing enhanced signs of explosion (orange) and 45 in unrest.

    Moreover, many earthquakes happen right under or near volcanoes probably announcing movement of magma or magma chamber refill. Yes more than 100 have happened as of 5:00 pm UTC. So that number might also increase in the next hours or so.

    And to better prove what I am saying, look at the maps and ressources I have compiled below:

    Earthquakes at volcanoes

    The map shows volcanoes that have been hit (within a 20 kms radius) by earthquakes.

    Quakes have been detected at or near the following volcanoes:


    • Clear Lake (19 quakes between mag 0.3-1.4)
    • Coso (10 quakes between mag 0.7-1.6)
    • Long Valley (8 quakes between mag 0.3-1.3)
    • Mammoth Mountain (5 quakes between mag 0.2-1.1)
    • Ubehebe Craters (1 quake mag 1.6)
    • Kilauea (2 quakes between mag 1.9-2.1)

    The Cascades volcanoes are rumbling intensively!


    • Askja (19 quakes between mag 0.1-2.3)
    • Bardarbunga (9 quakes between mag 0.4-3.6)
    • Eldey (2 quakes between mag 1.0-1.5)
    • Krísuvík (2 quakes between mag 0.8-1.7)
    • Loki-Fögrufjöll volcano (1 quake mag 4.4)
    • Reykjanes (20 quakes between mag 0.1-2.5)
    • Tjörnes Fracture Zone (7 quakes between mag 0.7-2.5)

    New Zealand

    • Auckland Field (2 quakes between mag 0.9-1.1)


    • El Hierro (1 quake mag 1.6)


    • Methana (1 quake mag 1.4)
    • Vesuvius (2 quakes between mag 0.9-1.0)


    Kurikoma (1 quake mag 3.6)

    Erupting volcanoes

    Popocatépetl (Central Mexico)

    Explosive activity continues. Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) Washington warned about a volcanic ash plume that rose up to estimated 19000 ft (5800 m) altitude or flight level 190 on July 13, 2020.

    Pacaya (Guatemala)

    Effusive eruption of the volcano continues at elevated levels. INSIVUMEH reported that the lava flows on the southwest, northwest and northeast flank (currently about 150 m long) remain active.

    Fuego (Guatemala)

    Explosive activity continues. Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) Washington warned about a volcanic ash plume that rose up to estimated 15000 ft (4600 m) altitude or flight level 150.

    And here the full report:

    Sangay (Ecuador)

    Explosive activity continues. Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) Washington warned about a volcanic ash plume that rose up to estimated 19000 ft (5800 m) altitude or flight level 190.

    Sabancaya (Peru)

    Explosive activity continues. Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) Buenos Aires warned about a volcanic ash plume that rose up to estimated 24000 ft (7300 m) altitude or flight level 240 and is moving at 10 kts in S direction.

  • Major Eruption at Fuego Volcano, Ash to 15,000 Ft, Guatemala

    The Fuego volcano in Guatemala has undergone a major explosion on September 1, 2020, sending a cloud of ash up to 4,700 meters into the sky, after volcanologists have observed an increase in its activity in recent days.

    On Monday, August 31, ongoing strombolian activity caused lava to eject up to 300 meters above the summit of the volcano.

    The eruption sparked “moderate to strong avalanches of material“, and lava reportedly started to descend down the slopes of the volcano.

    Weak to moderate explosions were recorded at six to nine-hour intervals, and an ash plume reached approximately 4,500 to 4,700 meters into the sky.

    Latest Fuego eruptions

    During previous eruptions, the Fuego volcano has caused major devastation.

    The Fuego volcano erupted in June 2018, and it was the volcano’s most violent eruption in four decades.

    Volcanologists believe the ash plume from the eruption propelled up to 33,000ft in the air.

    The eruption killed more than 190 people, making it one of the deadliest volcanic eruptions in Guatemala’s history.

    The Fuego eruption on June 3 affected more than 1.7 million people in three of Guatemala’s states.

  • Major Eruption at Sangay Volcano, Ashfall Turns Night into Day

    The strong eruption of Ecuador’s Sangay volcano on September 20, 2020, has covered tens of thousands of hectares of banana production under a carpet of ash.

    And the explosion ejected so much ash that it turned the day into night across the province of Chimborazo in Ecuador.

    According to exporter association Acorbanec, around 55,000ha of banana plantation have been affected. We estimate that this will lead to a 25% fall in the weekly exportable offer from the affected farms for at least a month,” Richard Salazar told Fruitnet

    Sangay volcano is one of the highest active volcanoes in the world and one of Ecuador’s most active ones. Since June, it has registered very high levels of activity.

    In the last days, the strongest eruption occurred on Sunday morning, with ash continuing to fall until Monday night.

    Juan José Pons, coordinator of a group of four grower-exporter associations known as the banana cluster, said that areas such as Naranjito, El Triunfo, in Guayas, and Mata de Cacao (Babahoyo), Los Ríos, are among the most affected.

    The ash shower interrupts the proper ripening process of the banana, so now the workers in the field will have to do a more meticulous job to avoid the loss of product,” he explained to El Comercio.

    Ecuador exported 260.64m boxes of bananas between January and August 2020, an increase of 8.45 per cent on 2019.

    Shipments to the European Union were up 12.47 per cent compared with the same period last year, while exports to the Middle East, Eastern Europe and Africa increased by 18.99 per cent, 32.75 per cent and 28.10 per cent respectively.

    Meanwhile, explosive activity continues at Sangay volcano. Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) Washington warned about a volcanic ash plume that rose up to estimated 21000 ft (6400 m) altitude or flight level 210 on September 24, 2020.

  • Major Eruption of Stromboli Volcano, Italy

    A sudden, major explosion took place at Stromboli volcano, Italy at 03:00 UTC (05:00 LT) on July 19, 2020. The explosion was about 10 times stronger than the average explosion at the volcano.

    The products of the explosion were distributed over the entire crater terrace and onto the Sciara del Fuoco, INGV Etna Observatory reports.

    From the seismic point of view, the phenomenon has been characterized by a brief sequence of explosive events and an increase in the volcanic tremor amplitude lasting until 03:10 UTC.

    Geophysical data suggests the explosion was about 10 times stronger than the average size of explosions at the volcano and comparable to the large eruption on March 15, 2017, Dr. Tom Pfeiffer of the Volcano Discovery reports.

    "The explosion occurred from a vent in the central/SW crater area and caused a pressure wave of 250 Pa were detected at 450 m [1 500 feet] distance and showered the entire crater terrace and beyond with incandescent lava bombs.

    However, it was about one order of magnitude smaller than the paroxysms July 3 and August 28, 2019.

    The July 3, 2019 eruption was the strongest since March 2007. One hiker was killed after molten material ignited a series of fires. The Italian news agency ANSA said the eruption sent about 30 tourists jumping into the sea for safety. One of the witnesses said people in the town of Ginostra barricaded themselves in houses or threw themselves into the sea.

  • Mt. Sinabung Explodes, Ash Cloud Turns Day into Night

    Sinabung volcano in Indonesia had a spectacular eruption on August 10.

    The powerful volcanic eruption sent a thick and dense ash plume approx. 16,400 ft (5,000 m) in the air, changing day into night.

    This is an alert for all of us to avoid red-zone areas near Sinabung,” said Armen Putera, a local official with Indonesia’s Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation Centre.


    Ballistic impacts of volcanic bombs and pyroclastic flows are likely in a 3-km zone around the main crater as well as 4-5 km along the SE and NE flanks.

    Ash turns day into night

    Small communities nearby were coated in a layer of thick ash as at least one village went from day to night in a matter of minutes.

    It was like magic – when the ash came it went from being very bright to dark as night. The village went dark for about 20 minutes.” said Rencana Sitepu, the head of Namanteran village, adding that some of the community’s crops were destroyed by the fallout. Volcanic ash is currently dispersing towards west.

  • Powerful Eruption in Ecuador Covers Cities in Ash

    The eruption of a volcano in Ecuador’s Amazon region left several cities covered in ash on Tuesday.

    The strong eruption fueled concerns of a potential health impact as the South American nation slowly emerges from a brutal coronavirus outbreak.

    The Sangay volcano has had moderate eruptions for over a year that have had little impact because of its remote location, but a recent change in wind patterns has pushed ash toward the coast and affected areas including the largest city, Guayaquil.

    The ash comes out of the Sangay volcano and spreads into the Guayas province, and we see a quantity of ash that is arriving near Guayaquil,” Benjamin Bernard of the Geophysical Institute of Ecuador told reporters, referring to the province where Guayaquil is located.

  • Powerful explosion at Popocatepetl, Heavy Ashfall Reported

    A powerful volcanic eruption took place at Mexico's Popocatepetl volcano at around 14:58 UTC (09:58 LT) on July 22, 2020. According to the Washington VAAC, a heavy volcanic ash plume reached approximately 7 300 m (24 000 feet) above sea level.

    In a 24-hour period to Wednesday, July 22, the monitoring system at the volcano identified 46 emissions of gas and steam plumes with volcanic ash that drifted west-southwest, the National Center for Prevention of Disasters (CENAPRED) reported.

    Incandescence was visible from the crater on Tuesday night, while constant emission of gas and ash has been observed.

    Additionally, 101 minutes of low amplitude tremor was registered.

    Ash fall was expected in Ecatzingo, San Juan Tepecoculco, San Andrés Tlalamac, San Pedro, Tetela del Volcán, Texcala, Jumiltepec, Ocuituco and Yecapixtla.

    The Volcanic Alert Traffic Light is now in Yellow Phase 2.

    Despite the restrictions issued by CENAPRED, mountaineers continue to climb to the crater, even filming the top of the volcano.

    The department advises people to avoid getting near the volcano, especially the crater, due to the danger posed by ballistic fragments.

    Geological summary

    Volcán Popocatépetl, whose name is the Aztec word for smoking mountain, rises 70 km (44 miles) SE of Mexico City to form North America's 2nd-highest volcano. The glacier-clad stratovolcano contains a steep-walled, 400 x 600 m (1 312 x 1 968 feet) wide crater.

    The generally symmetrical volcano is modified by the sharp-peaked Ventorrillo on the NW, a remnant of an earlier volcano.

    At least three previous major cones were destroyed by gravitational failure during the Pleistocene, producing massive debris-avalanche deposits covering broad areas to the south. The modern volcano was constructed south of the late-Pleistocene to Holocene El Fraile cone.

    Three major plinian eruptions, the most recent of which took place about 800 CE, have occurred from Popocatépetl since the mid-Holocene, accompanied by pyroclastic flows and voluminous lahars that swept basins below the volcano. Frequent historical eruptions, first recorded in Aztec codices, have occurred since precolumbian time. (GVP)

  • Series of Explosions at Telica Volcano, Nicaragua

    Series of explosions were recorded at Nicaraguan Telica volcano over the past couple of days, with at least 73 since mid-July. The last explosion occurred on August 3, with minor ash spewed to 250 m (820 feet) above the summit.

    According to the Nicaraguan Territorial Studies Institute (INETER), Telica volcano had six small explosions of gases and ashes in 24 hours to August 3.

    These eruptions were of low intensity, with ash column reaching 250 m (820 feet) above the summit. It followed a pattern similar to eruptions that happened in the previous days.

    INETER recorded 12 small gas and ash explosions between 11:25 to 17:00 UTC (05:25 to 11:00 LT) on July 29. 

    The strongest explosion was the first one, in which the ash column reached about 200 m (650 feet).

    The volcano had a total of 57 small explosions from July 29 to August 6. Both microseismicity and volcanic tremor are at very low levels. Small eruptions are forecast to continue in the next few days.

    Between July 20 to 21, the volcano had 14 small explosions, with the ash reaching a maximum altitude of 200 m (650 feet).

    A very small amount of ash was blown away to communities near the crater, such as Las Carpas, Los Portillos, Cristo Rey, and Quezalguaque.

    Since mid-July to present, a total of 73 small explosions have been recorded at the volcano.

    Telica's last significant volcanic activity was in June 2018, when a moderately strong explosion occurred and a plume of gas, ash, and debris was emitted up to 500 m (1 640 feet) from the crater.


    Geological summary

    Telica, one of Nicaragua's most active volcanoes, has erupted frequently since the beginning of the Spanish era. This volcano group consists of several interlocking cones and vents with a general NW alignment. 

    Sixteenth-century eruptions were reported at symmetrical Santa Clara volcano at the SW end of the group. However, its eroded and breached crater has been covered by forests throughout historical time, and these eruptions may have originated from Telica, whose upper slopes in contrast are unvegetated.

    The steep-sided cone of 1061-m-high (3 480 feet) Telica is truncated by a 700-m-wide (2 296 feet) double crater; the southern crater, the source of recent eruptions, is 120 m (393 feet) deep. El Liston, immediately SE of Telica, has several nested craters.

    The fumaroles and boiling mudpots of Hervideros de San Jacinto, SE of Telica, form a prominent geothermal area frequented by tourists, and geothermal exploration has occurred nearby. (GVP)

  • Violent Eruption at Merapi Volcano, Ash Ejection to 20,000 Feet, Indonesia

    Indonesia's Mount Merapi has erupted twice on Sunday, June 21, 2020, ejecting ash up to 6 000 m (20 000 feet) into the sky, according to the Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (PVMBG). The first explosion occurred at 02:13 UTC (09:13 LT) and lasted for more than five minutes, while the second one took place minutes later at 02:27 UTC (09:13 LT), with a duration of about 2 minutes.

    As of 09:16 UTC (16:16 LT) on June 21, the Aviation Color Code is Yellow, which indicates that volcanic activity has decreased significantly but continues to be monitored closely for a possible increase.

    The direction of the wind to the west caused ash to fall in the regencies of Magelang and Kulonprogo, as said in a statement issued by the Yogyakarta Geological Disaster Technology Research and Development Center (BPPTKG).

    "Both eruptions were recorded on a seismogram with an amplitude of 75 mm," it wrote. The column height reached more than 6 000 m (20 000 feet) from the summit.

    The Magelang Regency Disaster Management Agency (BPBD) reports that light and heavy volcanic ash rain showered 39 villages in 8 sub-districts in the Magelang Regency: Srumbung (heavy), Dukun (light), Sawangan (light), Salam (light), Muntilan (light), Ngluwar (light), Mungkid (light), and Borobudur (light).

    Indonesia’s Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana (BNPB) reports that thin ash is distributed in several areas around the slopes of Mount Merapi (Tlogo Lele, Boyolali Regency, Central Java). Whereas in other places, residents in the Turi, Pakem and Yogyakarta cities do not see volcanic ash.

    The farthest ashfall was reported in the Grimulyo District area, Kulon Progo, which is about 45 km (28 miles) from the volcano's peak.

    BPPTKG noted that prior to the explosive eruption, there has been an increase in seismicity since June 8. There were 80 volcanic-tectonic earthquakes between that day up to June 20.

    The agency warned people to avoid the area within a radius of 3 km (1.9 miles) from Merapi's peak.

    Mount Merapi is one of Indonesia's most active volcanoes. In 2010, an eruption killed more than 300 and forced almost 400 000 to evacuate.

    Geological summary

    Merapi, one of Indonesia's most active volcanoes, lies in one of the world's most densely populated areas and dominates the landscape immediately north of the major city of Yogyakarta. It is the youngest and southernmost of a volcanic chain extending NNW to the Ungaran volcano.

    Growth of Old Merapi during the Pleistocene ended with major edifice collapse perhaps about 2 000 years ago, leaving a large arcuate scarp cutting the eroded older Batulawang volcano. 

    Subsequently, the growth of the steep-sided Young Merapi edifice, its upper part unvegetated due to frequent eruptive activity, began SW of the earlier collapse scarp. Pyroclastic flows and lahars accompanying growth and collapse of the steep-sided active summit lava dome have devastated cultivated lands on the western-to-southern flanks and caused many fatalities during historical time. (GVP)

  • Volcán de Fuego Erupts as Powerful Lahars Sweep the Slopes, Guatemala

    Strong lahars descended down the slopes of the Volcán de Fuego in El Jute and Las Lajas ravines.

    The two ravines are on the eastern flank of the volcano and are tributaries of the Achuguate and Guacalate rivers.

    The volcanic eruption on the 4th of July:

    The ferocious river of mud on the 5th of July:

    In this video, you even see people being dragged and saved from a stranded car:

    Notable lahars include those at Mount Pinatubo and Nevado del Ruiz, the latter of which killed thousands of people in the town of Armero.

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