The launch of a new GVP website is scheduled for Monday, May 20, 2013.
The Weekly Volcanic Activity Report (WVAR) is an online summary of global volcanic activity that has been prepared on a weekly basis for the past 10 years, written for both scientists and non-scientists alike. It is posted online and viewed on average over 35,000 times every week, and emailed to nearly 3,500 volcano scientists around the world. To date, there have been reports on 220 volcanoes!
The WVAR, a collaborative effort between the USGS Volcano Hazards Program and the Smithsonian’s Global Volcanism Program, were the inspiration of Marianne Guffanti of the USGS, who spear-headed this effort for more timely eruption reporting. USGS employee Gari Mayberry arrived at the Smithsonian in the summer of 2000 and produced the first Weekly Report, in collaboration with GVP staff, which covered 1-7 November 2000. Sally Kuhn Sennert succeeded Mayberry in May 2006. In March 2008, an RSS newsfeed and Google Earth placemark file for each Weekly Report was made available. Happy anniversary WVAR!
- Brief summaries of current volcanic activity with links to the information sources and to definitions for technical terms in the USGS photoglossary
- Background information about the reported volcanoes compiled by Global Volcanism Program staff
- Maps that highlight the location of the reported volcanoes in reference to geographical features and other volcanoes in the region
- An archive of the weekly reports sorted by volcano and date
- Availability of RSS and CAP news feeds
- A link to view the volcanoes and their reports in a Google Earth layer
- And links to more comprehensive reports that are published monthly in the Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network
Kilauea (2000) Coverage of activity extends back to 1968 during the first year of the Center for Short-Lived Phenomena. Kilauea was featured in the first Weekly Report in 2000, and has been covered every week since then, except for three! Kilauea is simply an amazing and accessible volcano with a rich history of awe-inspiring eruptions spanning decades.
1-7 November 2000
The HVO reported that lava continued to enter the ocean at the Kamokuna entry as it has since late September 2000. Surface lava flows were visible sporadically through the week. Overall, volcanic tremor near Pu`u `O`o vent was moderate and earthquake activity was low across the island. Tilt measured at Kilauea's summit was rather flat, as it was elsewhere along the E rift zone, continuing the long-term slow deflation underway since the eruption began in 1983.
On 5 November the bodies of two hikers who died on 3 November were found on Kilauea. According to an Associated Press article, a National Park Service Ranger stated that the hikers suffered severe burns, cuts, and abrasions. Authorities believed the hikers may have bypassed warning signs and hiked beyond the recommended area. The cause of their deaths was not known as of 7 November, but it was thought that they may have been struck by lightning or scalded by lava-heated sea water while they were on the active bench (land built out from the sea cliff). Refer to the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory website for more details.
Kilauea view from E of E Kupapa`u ocean entry at dusk on 10 July 2001. The bench was comparatively large, reaching out about 120 m from the sea cliff. Note the new black sand beach formed by deposition of glass created when lava enters the sea. Courtesy of HVO.
Nyiragongo (2002) One of Africa's most notable volcanoes, and contained a lava lake in its deep summit crater that was active for half a century before draining catastrophically through its outer flanks in 1977. Another eruption in 2002 produced lava flows that covered much of the city of Goma and led to the evacuation of ~400,000 people.
16-22 January 2002
According to reports from news and government agencies, the eruption at Nyiragongo that began on 17 January appeared to have stopped by 21 January. During the eruption lava flowed from fissures on the volcano's S and E flanks, moving towards the S. Lava flows cut directly through the city of Goma (~10 km S of the volcano) and continued onward to enter Lake Kivu. A 100-m-wide delta formed where lava entered the lake. Various reports estimated that lava flows had destroyed 25-75% of the city including ~10,000 homes. The buildings at the Goma airport remained intact, but lava covered ~80% of the airstrip rendering the airport inoperable.
Residents of Goma were evacuated after the eruption was underway. Reports of the number of deaths and injuries vary; most reports state ~45 people died, possibly as a result of remaining in their homes which burned or collapsed. In addition, 50-100 people were killed when hot lava caused gas station tanks to explode at 0830 on 21 January. A total of ~400 people suffered from injuries including burns. Beginning around 19 January many Goma residents returned to the city; field reports from USAID/OFDA staff stated that on the morning of the 20th more than 15,000 people per hour returned, while only 3,000 people per hour fled the city. By the 21st there were ~12,000 homeless families in Goma.
Large gas plume blowing E from the summit of Nyiragongo, 1 April 2009, as seen from Goma. Courtesy of the GVO.
Fernandina (2005) Fernandina, the most active of Galápagos volcanoes and the one closest to the Galápagos mantle plume, is a basaltic shield volcano with a deep 5 x 6.5 km summit caldera. Collapse of a nearly 1 cu km section of the east caldera wall during an eruption in 1988 produced a debris-avalanche deposit that covered much of the caldera floor and absorbed the caldera lake. Fissure eruptions were noted in 2005 and 2009.
11-17 May 2005
On 13 May the Charles Darwin Research Station (CDRS) received news that Fernandina, an island volcano in the Galápagos, had begun erupting that morning. Satellite photos showed a large cloud extending to the NW. The first flow seems to have occurred more or less where the last eruption started in 1995, high on the SW slope, but from a circumferential fissure near the rim. The fissure itself could not be seen owing to the cloud on the rim, but map analysis suggests that the fissure was about 4.5 km long around the rim or just below it, with the first flows emanating from the W part of the fissure, and the latest flows from the E part. The flows descended the steepest part of the slopes quickly, and ponded on the gentler outer skirt of the island. The closest point that the lava had approached the sea on the 14th was 5.5 km from the coast. Lava passing through vegetated areas has caused small fires, but these have not spread far from the lava tongues themselves before going out. Most of the new flows have passed over unvegetated older lava.
A short time after the volcano started to erupt, the Sea-viewing Wide Field-of-view Sensor (SeaWiFS) flying on the OrbView-2 satellite captured an image showing a thick cloud of ash and steam fanning out W of the volcano, with a smaller, slightly darker plume blowing S. This darker plume may be more ash-rich than the larger plume, or it may be smoke from fires ignited by lava flows.
A 2002 International Space Station photograph of Fernandina, looking obliquely towards the E (N is towards the left). Labels show key features developed in 1995, 1981, and 1968 eruptions. Note the island's coastline in the lower-right corner and along much of the left margin. Despite the steep walls bounding the 850 m deep, 5 x 6.5 km central caldera, it supports both animal and plant populations. Image ISS05E06997 (Visible Earth v1 ID 18002) with contrast enhanced and labels added by Bulletin editors.
Merapi (2006) One of Indonesia's most active volcanoes and lies in one of the world's most densely populated areas. Merapi dominates the landscape immediately north of the major city of Yogyakarta, 30 km SSW. An eruption in 2006 caused an evacuation of about 22,000 people.
10-16 May 2006
CVGHM reported that on 11 May, gas plumes rose to ~600 m above Merapi (or 11,600 ft a.s.l.). Avalanches of incandescent material extended 200 m SE towards the Gendol River, and 1.5 km SW towards the Krasak River. Several small incandescent avalanches of volcanic material were visible from observatory posts. The new lava dome at the volcano's summit had grown to fill the gap between the 2001 lava flows and the 1997 lava flows on the W side of the summit. The lava dome reached a height above that of the 1997 lava flows.
According to news reports, after the Alert Level was raised to 4 on 13 May, about 4,500 people living near the volcano were evacuated. Intense activity occurred on 15 May, with pyroclastic flows traveling as far as 4 km to the W. By 16 May a total of about 22,000 people were evacuated; according to figures posted at the district disaster task force center about 16,870 people were evacuated from three districts in Central Java Province, and more than 5,600 others were evacuated from the Slemen district, a part of Yogyakarta Province.
A Merapi pyroclastic flow in its early stages as seen at 08:50:53 on 10 June 2006. Photo credit to BPPTK; provided courtesy of CVGHM.
Jebel at Tair (2007) Explosive eruptions were reported in the 18th and 19th centuries. An eruption that began on the afternoon of 30 September 2007 from Jebel at Tair sent lava flows across the NE part of the 2 x 3 km island to the sea, and resulted in fatalities among Yemen military personnel.
26 September-2 October 2007
According to news reports, an eruption from the Jebel at Tair volcano was observed from several passing NATO ships on the evening of 30 September. Witnesses described a fissure eruption that produced lava fountains approximately 100 m high and ash plumes to a height of 300 m (1,000 ft) a.s.l. Multiple 1-km-long lava flows descended to the sea and a large landslide occurred on the W part of the island. Activity continued for at least two days. The eruption prompted Yemeni authorities to evacuate about 50 soldiers from a military base on the island. A news article on 2 October reported that the Yemeni authorities lowered the death toll to three.
Lava entering the ocean at Jebel at Tair, 2 Oct. 2007. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Vincent Street.
Nevado del Huila (2007) The first historical activity from this little-known volcano was an explosive eruption in the mid-16th century. Long-term, persistent steam columns had risen from Pico Central prior to the next eruption in 2007, when explosive activity was accompanied by damaging mudflows.
19 November-25 November 2008
INGEOMINAS reported an eruption of Nevado del Huila at 2145 on 20 November that destroyed part of a new lava dome that had formed during the previous months. The Alert Level was raised to Red (on a 4-color scale where Red is the highest level). According to the Washington VAAC, two gas-and-ash plumes rose to altitudes of 12.4-15.4 km (40,700-50,500 ft) a.s.l. and drifted W and SE. Hot material erupted at the summit melted areas of the surrounding glacier and caused lahars in the Bellavista and Páez rivers. Lahars in the Páez River damaged infrastructure and destroyed homes, and residents of Taravira, Tóez, and La Estrella reported abundant ashfall and noises associated with both the eruption and the lahar. There may have been as many as 10 fatalities and 10 others were missing, and several populations were left without means of communication. By the time of a report at 0230 on 21 November, the seismicity had decreased. During an overflight, scientists observed a 400-m-diameter crater in the SW area of Pico Central. A lava dome inside the crater was degassing. Intense fumarolic activity was noted from the W end of a crack generated in April 2007. The next day, the Alert Level was lowered back to Orange because seismicity had returned to background levels. INGEOMINAS continued to receive reports of sulfur odors and continuous gas emissions from the summit.
According to news reports, the lahars damaged or destroyed about 70 homes and several bridges, and displaced many families. Hundreds of people were evacuated.
Photo from hillside overlooking the confluence of the Páez and Símbola rivers, viewed upstream towards Nevado del Huila. One of the battered and partly lahar-covered bridges lies in the left-foreground. Photo was taken 25 April 2007 and came from Mumucué (2007).
Kelut (2007) Kelut has a significant history of deadly eruptions. After more than 5000 people were killed during an eruption in 1919, an ambitious engineering project sought to drain the crater lake. This initial effort lowered the lake by more than 50 m, but the 1951 eruption deepened the crater by 70 m, leaving 50 million cubic meters of water after repair of the damaged drainage tunnels. After more than 200 deaths in the 1966 eruption, a new deeper tunnel was constructed, and the lake's volume before the 1990 eruption was only about 1 million cubic meters. Amazingly, the eruption of a lava dome in 2007 was quite passive.
31 October-6 November 2007
CVGHM reported that a series of earthquakes from Kelut during 24-31 October were dominated by shallow events and tremor. Seismicity intensified during 2-3 November, and then decreased on 4 November. On 2 November the temperature of the crater lake was 50 degrees Celsius, the highest temperature recorded. On 4 November, white plumes rose to an altitude of 2 km (6,600 ft) a.s.l. and drifted N. Observations of video footage from a closed-circuit television camera revealed that a black mass protruded from the lake and was likely the cause of the plumes. The Alert Level remained at 4 (on a scale of 1-4).
Kelut's dome seen in low-light conditions on 29 or 30 November 2007 in a view looking towards the E. Myriad incandescent fragments detached from the dome, leaving incandescent scars in the middle to upper dome area. The dome's summit area and much of its lower skirt are chiefly dark, except in the latter case for the trails of material bouncing and falling past. The much reduced lake was calm and wrapping around the dome's left (N) side. Copyrighted photo by Tom Pfeiffer (Volcano Discovery).
Chaitén (2008) The first historical eruption of Chaitén volcano beginning in 2008 produced major rhyolitic explosive activity and growth of a lava dome that filled much of the caldera.
30 April-6 May 2008
SERNAGEOMIN reported that Chaitén erupted on 2 May, following increased seismicity in the region the day before. A pulsating white to gray ash plume rose to an estimated altitude greater than 21 km (68,900 ft) a.s.l. and drifted SSE. The Alert Level was raised to Red. Based on observations of satellite imagery and pilot reports, the Buenos Aires VAAC reported an ash plume at altitudes of 13.7-16.8 km (45,000-55,000 ft) a.s.l. drifted NE. According to news articles, Chile's government declared a state of emergency on 2 May and several hundred people were evacuated from the town of Chaitén (10 km SE). The eruption was initially thought to have been from Minchinmávida, about 17 km ENE, which last erupted in 1835.
According to news sources, ashfall was reported during 2-6 May both locally and up to hundreds of kilometers away, affecting water supplies and roads. Based on observations of satellite imagery and pilot reports, the Buenos Aires VAAC reported that during 3-6 May ash plume rose to altitudes of 7-10.7 km (23,000-35,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted SE, E, W, and NE. News sources indicated that about 4,000-5,000 people were evacuated from the town of Chaitén and surrounding areas as the eruption continued. On 5 May, ONEMI (Oficina Nacional de Emergencia - Ministerio del Interior) reported that evacuations took place in Futaleufú, about 65 km ESE, where about 30 cm of ash accumulated. One elderly person died during the evacuation efforts. On 6 May, ONEMI and SERNAGEOMIN reported that the eruption became more forceful and generated a wider and darker gray ash plume to an estimated altitude of 30 km (98,400 ft) a.s.l. All remaining people in Chaitén were ordered to evacuate, as well as anyone within 50 km of the volcano.
Chaitén seen from a helicopter on 26 May with the camera aimed NE. A tephra cone stood atop the new and old dome complex. The cone's steep upper walls discharged a broad plume from an unusually ample summit crater. The plume was two-toned, with distinctively shaded material on its left and right sides. Lumpy areas on the middle to lower cone correspond to the obsidian on the now buried older dome. Some burned vegetation exists in the bottom center of the photo along the outflowing Blanco river. Photo by J.N. Marso (USGS).
Sarychev Peak (2009) Fresh-looking lava flows descend all sides of Sarychev Peak and often form capes along the coast. Much of the lower-angle outer flanks of the volcano are overlain by pyroclastic-flow deposits. Eruptions have been recorded since the 1760's and include both quiet lava effusion and violent explosions. One of the largest historical eruptions of Sarychev Peak in 1946 produced pyroclastic flows that reached the sea. An incredible image of the 2009 eruption was captured by astronauts from the International Space Station.
10 June-16 June 2009
Based on analysis of satellite imagery, SVERT reported that on 11 June a thermal anomaly from Sarychev Peak and a possible diffuse ash plume were detected. Seismicity was at background levels. The next day, a large thermal anomaly was present and ash emissions were were seen on satellite imagery. On 13 June, ash plumes rose to an altitude of 7.5 km (24,600 ft) a.s.l. and drifted 200 km SW and 105 km SE. On 14 June, a large eruption produced an ash plume that rose to an altitude of 12 km (39,400 ft) a.s.l. A large explosion the next day sent an ash plume to an altitude of 8 km (26,200 ft) a.s.l. Sarychev Peak is not monitored with ground-based instruments. According to news articles, some airlines have re-routed, canceled, or delayed flights.
A digital photograph of a Sarychev Peak's eruption plume taken by astronauts on 12 June 2009 from the International Space Station. N is to the upper right. Courtesy of NASA Earth Observatory.
Eyjafjallajökull (2010) Although the 1666-m-high volcano has erupted during historical time, it has been less active than other volcanoes of Iceland's eastern volcanic zone, and relatively few Holocene lava flows are known. The eruption began in March 2010 from a flank fissure, but it was the explosive summit eruption in April that brought recent world-wide attention to the issue of ash plumes and aircraft safety.
14 April-20 April 2010
The Institute of Earth Sciences at the Nordic Volcanological Center (NVC) reported that a new set of craters opened in the early morning of 14 April under the ice-covered central summit caldera of Eyjafjallajökull. This eruptive phase was preceded by a swarm of earthquakes and the onset of tremor. Aerial observations revealed a series of vents along a 2-km-long N-S fissure, with meltwater flowing down both the N and S slopes of the volcano. An ash plume rose to more than 8 km altitude, and was deflected to the E by winds. Jokulhlaups (floods of meltwater) reached the lowlands around the volcano with peak flow around noon, damaging roads, infrastructure, and farmlands. There were no fatalities due to previous evacuations. Tephra-fall was reported in SE Iceland. A second jokulhlaup/lahar traveled down the Markarfljot valley that evening.
On 15 April the eruption plume reached mainland Europe, causing the closure of large areas of airspace. Activity continued during 16 April at a similar level as the previous day, with ash generation and pulses of meltwater causing jokulhlaup/lahars in the evening. The next day there was some variability in seismic tremor and tephra generation, but overall the activity remained stable. A pulsating eruptive column reached above 8 km altitude, and lightning was frequently seen within the plume.
Over the first 72 hours of explosive activity, scientists estimated that the eruption had produced 140 million cubic meters of tephra. An update from NVC on 21 April noted that activity had declined in the previous few days by an order of magnitude, though phreatomagmatic explosions were still occurring, sending plumes about 3 km high. Lava spattering was seen at the craters, and meltwater flows were minor. Seismicity was not decreasing at that time, and samples collected on 19 April were of the same intermediate composition (58% SiO2) as early in the explosive phase, but with more fluorine.
The ash cloud resulted in the cancellation of tens of thousands of daily flights, both into and out of major European cities, after 15 April. Although on 19 April the plume was only rising 1 km above the summit, it was ascending to altitudes of 5-7 km (15-20,000 ft) as it drifted to the S. Beginning on 20 April, after a decrease in activity and a significant dissipation of the plume, many previously closed areas were at least partially opened for limited service.
An Aqua-MODIS satellite image of Eyjafjallajökull taken on 17 April 2010. Ash blew S as both a dense band and a much wider, less dense plume. Courtesy of NASA Earth Observatory: image by Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team; caption by Holli Riebeek.