Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity – New Activity for the Week 7 April 2021 – 13 April 2021
Karymsky – Eastern Kamchatka (Russia) : KVERT reported that the explosive eruption that began at Karymsky on 3 April continued through 11 April. A thermal anomaly was visible in satellite images during 2-6 April; weather conditions obscured views on other days. The 3 April explosion generated an ash plume that rose to 8.5 km (27,900 ft) a.s.l. and drifted 255 km NE. At 1745 on 11 April explosions produced ash plumes that rose to 4 km (13,100 ft) a.s.l. and drifted at least 65 km SE. The Aviation Color Code was raised to Orange (the second highest level on a four-color scale) on 3 April.
Krysuvik-Trolladyngja – Iceland : IMO reported that the fissure eruption in the W part of the Krýsuvík-Trölladyngja volcanic system, close to Fagradalsfjall on the Reykjanes Peninsula, continued during 7-13 April. Lava from the third fissure flowed S into Geldingadalur and NE towards the Meradalir valley site. Flows from the three fissures connected into one flow field on 7 April. Another new fissure opened at around 0300 on 10 April, halfway between two existing fissures, and all four fissures were simultaneously active. Lava flowed towards Geldingadalur. Gas-rich emission plumes were visible in webcam images rising 1.1-1.3 km (3,600-4,300 ft) a.s.l. At least two new vents opened on 13 April based on webcam views. On 14 April IMO noted that lava was flowing from at least eight vents and unverified reports form the morning suggested two additional vents had opened. Sulfur dioxide gas flux was 29 kilograms per second, comparable to measurements collected during the previous few weeks.
IMO warned visitors that new fissures could open without adequate visible warning, especially in an area just S of Keilir, by Litla-Hrút, where seismicity was concentrated. They also warned of increased gas emissions hazards. The Aviation Color Code remained Orange due to the lack of ash and tephra emissions.
Pacaya – Guatemala : INSIVUMEH reported that the eruption at Pacaya’s Mackenney Crater continued during 7-13 April. Explosions during 6-7 April produced ash plumes that rose 1 km above the summit and drifted 10 km W and SW. Ballistics were ejected 50-150 m above the summit. Explosions during 8-9 and 11-12 April produced ash plumes that rose as high as 1 km and drifted as far as 10 km NE, W, and SW.
The lava flow on the W and SW flanks was 3.7 km long and continued to be fed. Incandescent lava blocks were spalled from the flow front and vegetation was set on fire. The lava advanced W onto the La Breña farm and SW towards El Patrocinio and El Rodeo, near the Campo Alegre farm. On 12 April the flows burned La Breña coffee and avocado plantations. By 13 April the lava flows were 3.8 km long, and within 370 m of houses in El Patrocinio. Another flow front was 250 m E of El Rodeo, and obstructed the road that connects El Rodeo, El Caracol, and Los Pocitos.
Piton de la Fournaise – Reunion Island (France) : OVPF reported that a seismic crisis at Piton de la Fournaise began at 1457 on 9 April and was accompanied by rapid deformation beneath the S flank. Seismicity indicated that a fissure opened at 1900 but could not be visually confirmed due to weather conditions. The Alert Level was raised to 2-2. During an overflight at 0840 on 10 April scientists observed a NNW-oriented fissure, 700 m S of Château Fort. Activity was focused at two vents, each producing lava fountains that were no higher than 30 m tall, though fountains also rose from other parts of the fissure. Slow-moving ‘a’a lava flowed SE and then curved E and advanced 1.6 km to 1,800 elevation. The N end of the fissure was no longer active. Two cones had formed over the main vents and were growing larger; by 11 April the more northern vent was the larger of the two. Fountains rose 30-60 m and the lava flow had advanced to 1,750 m elevation. By 1900 on 11 April the lava flow was 3.2 km long and had reached 1,690 m elevation. Lava fountaining continued at the two vents during 12-13 April, rising 20-60 m. The lava flow continued to advance; by 13 April the flow was about 3.6 km long and had reached 1,500-1,550 m elevation.
Semisopochnoi – Aleutian Islands (USA) : AVO reported that low-level ash emissions from Semisopochnoi were visible in satellite images on 12 April along with a steam plume drifting E beyond the island. Additionally, new ash deposits extending SE at least to the coastline were also visible. The event was recorded by the regional infrasound network. The Aviation Color Code and the Volcano Alert Level remained at Orange and Watch, respectively.
Soufriere St. Vincent – St. Vincent : University of the West Indies Seismic Research Centre (UWI-SRC) and National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO) reported that the effusive eruption at Soufrière St. Vincent (often simply referred to as “La Soufriere”) became explosive on 9 April after a period of increased seismicity, gas emission, and rapid dome growth. Earthquake swarms were recorded during 22-25 March and 5 April, signifying a change in the eruption pattern. Small earthquakes associated with dome growth were recorded on 7 April. Episodes of tremor indicating movement of magma and fluids close to the surface began at 0300 on 8 April and were again recorded at 0530, 0800, 1015, and 1300, slowly increasing in magnitude. Five long-period earthquakes and two brief swarms of VT events occurred in between the tremor episodes; ash venting occurred with the last episode. Sulfur dioxide emissions were identified in satellite data, and clouds of steam and gas were visible from the Belmont Observatory. Later that evening, incandescent material over the vent area was visible in webcam images, and views from the observatory indicated that the dome had grown significantly. The Alert Level was raised to Red at around 1830, and the Prime Minister issued an evacuation order for the Red Zone at the N part of the island, affecting 16,000-20,000 people.
An explosive eruption began at 0840 on 9 April when an ash plume rose to 8 km (27,900 ft) a.s.l. and drifted mainly ENE. Ash fell across the island, affecting communities including Chateaubelair and Petite Bordel, the observatory, Belmont and surrounding areas at the S end of the island, and forcing the closure of the Argyle International Airport (20 km S). NEMO stated that evacuations in the Orange and Red zones were impeded by significant ashfall and poor visibility, but by the evening most residents had been evacuated. A second period of vigorous ash venting began at 1445 and initially rose about 4 km (13,100 ft) a.s.l. Lightning was visible in the rising plume. Successive explosions and ash pulses fed the plume for hours and it rose to 16 km (52,000 ft) a.s.l. A third explosive series began at 1835. Ash venting occurred through the night, causing ashfall across St. Vincent and reaching Barbados, about 165 km E, significantly impacting residents on that island.
Periods of banded tremor began at 0330 on 10 April, lasting for periods of 20-30 minutes with 1-3-hour gaps. The tremor episodes were associated with explosive activity and stronger pulses of ash emissions to higher altitudes; ash plumes rose to 10.6-16 km (35,000-52,000 ft) a.s.l. throughout the day. The Washington VAAC stated that ash plumes during 9-10 April had drifted as far as 1,200 km ESE and about 3,000 km ENE. The Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA) in Barbados also closed.
Ashfall continued to be widespread on 10 April; deposit thickness varied from less than 1 mm in Colonaire (~12.5 km SSE) to 10-15 mm in Rabacca (~7.4 km SSE). Scientists reported darkness at the observatory at 1617; video showed intense and continuous ashfall. Satellite data confirmed that explosions had excavated the 2020-2021 lava dome and parts of the 1979 dome, leaving a large crater.
Overnight during 10-11 April ash again fell island-wide, and also in the Grenadines (to the SSW), Barbados, and Saint Lucia (50 km NNE). Explosions early on 11 April were followed by widespread power and water outages on the island as reported by NEMO, and some houses had collapsed under the significant ashfall. Beginning around midday the periods between episodes of high-amplitude tremor lengthened from 1.5-4 hours to 5-8 hours. The VAAC reported that through the day ash plumes rose 12.2-16 km (40,000-52,000 ft) a.s.l. and continued to drift long distances to the ENE, E, and SE. A large explosion at 0415 on 12 April produced an ash plume that rose to 12.8 km (42,000 ft) a.s.l. Pyroclastic flows descended several valleys on the S and W flanks, reaching the coast at Morne Ronde (4.3 km W), Larikai (3.5 km WNW), and Trois Loupes Bay (3.5 km NW). Damage to vegetation was extensive along the W coast, stretching from Larikai Bay to Turner Bay. The pattern of seismicity again changed; high-amplitude tremor episodes ceased, but two low-amplitude and one high-amplitude episode were recorded during 0600-1700. Explosivity or notable ash venting coincided with the episodes; the spacing between explosive events increased.
A series of Vulcanian explosions began at 0630 on 13 April and lasted about 30 minutes. The VAAC stated that a dense ash plume rose to 11 km (35,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted E and SE, as well as N and NE. Pyroclastic flows traveled about 6 km WSW, reached the ocean at Wallibou Bay, and extended past the coastline over the sea. Scientists observed the western coastline later in the day and noted that pyroclastic flows had descended all valleys from Larikai (W) to Wallibou, a stretch about 5 km long. Lahar deposits were observed in the Sandy Bay area. The VAAC noted that at 1850 a new ash emission rose to 7.6 km (25,000 ft) a.s.l. and was associated with a thermal anomaly. UWI-SRC stated that a large explosion was recorded around 2300. Pyroclastic flows overnight were channeled to the E into the Rabacca River drainage. The Montserrat Volcano Observatory stated that a sulfur odor and minor ashfall from Soufrière St. Vincent was observed on their island (390 km NNW).
Daily satellite-based measurements of SO2 were notable beginning on 9 April. Though the initial explosion at 0840 showed relatively minor SO2 emissions, stronger, continuous ash and SO2 emissions began later on 9 April (at 1445) and continued into the next day, transitioning into discrete explosive events that continued a least through 14 April. Satellite data showed about 0.4 teragrams (Tg) of SO2 in the plume on 10 April, with some stratospheric injection. Simon Carn noted that this makes the La Soufriere eruption the largest tropical SO2 emission since the 2011 Nabro eruption, and the largest in the Caribbean since satellite measurements began in 1979. The SO2 plume initially fanned out to the NE, E, and SE across the Atlantic Ocean. Measurements during 11-13 April showed similar results of 0.4-0.6 Tg SO2 depending on altitude. The eastern edge of the gas plume reached about 4,700 km to the W coast of Africa by 12 April, and another 2,000 km inland to Mali and Niger on 13 April.
Suwanosejima – Ryukyu Islands (Japan) : JMA reported that incandescence from Suwanosejima’s Ontake Crater was visible at night during 5-9 April. Four explosions generated ash plumes that rose as high as 1.6 km above the crater rim and ejected bombs 600 m away. Ashfall was reported in Toshima village (4 km SSW) during 8-9 April. The Alert Level remained at 2 and the public was warned to stay 1 km away from the crater.