Etna: Paroxysm No 15 has started

Original news 9:15 a.m.: Even as I typed the report below, Etna started through and began Paroxysm No 15. The tremor shoots up and an ash cloud is ejected, rapidly increasing in size. In addition, a lava flow begins to flow. Visibility conditions are poor, but the localteam is attempting a livestream. They are located to the east of the volcano, in a parking lot below Valle del Bove.

Update 10:25 a.m.: The paroxysm is in full swing and may have reached its peak. Gaps in the clouds give a view now and then, but most of the livecams are below the cloud line. Only the webcams above 1900 m have consistently clear views. These include a thermalcam of the INGV and the SkylineCam near the upper cable car station. So far, the paroxysm is running without any big surprises.

Pacaya volcano continues to erupt volcanic ash

Guatemala’s Pacaya is also located in close proximity to the capital: here, it is only a good 25 km as the crow flies to the center of Guatemala City. Accordingly, even moderate eruptions of the volcano often affect the capital and disrupt air traffic. Also in the last 24 hours Pacaya was active and produced volcanic ash. It rose to a height of 4000 meters. The ash drifted up to 25 km in a southwesterly direction. Ash precipitation occurred in the communities of El Rodeo and El Patrocinio. Volcanic bombs dispersed up to 500 m around McKenney crater. The lava flow on the southern flank is 1000 m long. From its front, block avalanches are coming down.

Pinatubo: Seismicity increased

Pinatubo in the Philippines is seismically unsettled. Yesterday PHILVOLCS detected 25 volcanotectonic earthquakes at the volcano on Luzon. The previous day, there were 8 tremors. The alert status is at “1.” It is interesting that at the beginning of the phase with increased seismicity, it was stated that the tremors were tectonic in nature. Apparently, the activity has shifted. It is also interesting that the capital Manila is encircled by the two volcanoes: while the Taal caldera is located 70 km south of Manila, Pinatubo is located 100 km northwest of the capital. Large eruptions could have a correspondingly strong impact on the metropolis, depending on the wind direction.

Sangay: Ash cloud detected

Let’s start not in alphabetical order, but with the apparently strongest eruption of the last 24 hours. This was delivered by the Ecuadorian volcano Sangay. According to VAAC, volcanic ash rose to an altitude of 12800 m and dispersed to the northwest. A smaller ash cloud rose to 6700 m and moved in the opposite direction to the southeast. Speculatively, the higher ash cloud was explosively produced and the smaller eruption cloud originated from a pyroclastic flow that descended on the southern flank of the volcano. Due to the permanent cloud cover, visual observations of the event are rare. What does exist, however, are reports that the sky darkened over the towns of Riobamba and Chambo. In addition, there were showers of ash. People showed concern. The volcanologists of IGEPN are also concerned: they fear that continued rains could trigger lahars.

Etna Paroxysm No 12

The 12th consecutive paroxysm on Etna began this morning. Activity began to increase significantly around 7:30 am. Already half an hour later, a lava flow began to emerge from the New Southeast Crater. In the meantime, the paroxysm has reached its peak.

You can see from the broad tremor base that the paroxysm was increasing comparatively slowly and has now been going on for quite a long time. It looks like it peaked at 10:30 CET (9:30 UCT). The tremor amplitude has risen even a bit higher than during the last paroxysms. Once again, the eruption takes place in unusually good weather. There is almost no wind and the eruption cloud rises vertically. VAAC Toulouse detects volcanic ash at 10,400 m altitude. On a thermalcam, one can see the lava flow that has descended far into the Valle del Bove. Obviously, however, there is only the lava flow in the eastern direction, no lava seems to be on the way in the south.

Taal: Alert level raised

PHILVOLCS has been reporting for several weeks an increase in seismicity under the large Caldera volcano on Luzon, which caused a stir with an eruption only last January. In addition to numerous volcanotectonic earthquakes, volcanic tremors also increased significantly recently. The total number of volcanic tremor events has risen to 866 since the increased activity began on February 13. The volcanic tremors have increased seismic energy compared to previously recorded episodes and have ranged from 3 to seventeen 17 minute durations. In addition, the other parameters that indicate magma is moving at shallow depths are beginning to change: the acidity of Crater Lake increased, rising (or falling) from pH 2.79 to pH 1.59. The water is becoming more acidic because of increased volcanic gases rising. The water temperature increased to 74.6 degrees. Slight bottom deformation was detected using InSAR imagery. Concomitant changes in microgravity were recorded. New measurements have detected positive microgravity changes throughout the Taal caldera, consistent with density changes due to magma migration, magma degassing, and hydrothermal activity. All of these parameters are of concern and the alert status has been raised to “yellow.” Evacuations have not yet been initiated. Authorities remind that Volcano Island is a permanent exclusion zone. The photo shows the volcano during last year eruption.

Pacaya: Eruption in Progress

Unlike Etna, Pacaya did not take long to erupt and has been delighting with a fancy lava fountain for hours. INSIVUMEH reports glowing tephra rising up to 700 m above crater level. An ash cloud is rising up to 4500 m above sea level and drifting towards the southwest and west. In the communities downwind, ash and lapilli are raining and there is even a warning that blocks will fall. Likewise, there is a warning that lava flows may be formed, or that existing lava flows may increase. So it remains exciting at the volcano. It is noteworthy that there is a new livecam from CONRED, which is currently transmitting a livestream (see below).

Sinabung: Seismicity high

At the Sinabung on Sumatra the situation comes to a head: here the seismicity increased enormously in the last days and not only debris avalanches were registered, but above all earthquakes with low frequencies. They indicate massive magma rise. Yesterday, a good 560 of these quakes were recorded. In the first 6 hours of today, there were already 239 quakes. In addition, 112 signals testified to debris avalanches. The dome is growing and the situation is becoming more and more critical!

Pacaya: Another ash cloud

Guatemalan volcano Pacaya erupted another ash cloud today. It rose to an altitude of 3000 m and drifted in a westerly direction. Yesterday INSIVUMEH reported strombolian eruptions from McKenney crater. Incandescent tephra was spewed a good 175 m above crater level. The lava flow on the southern flank reached a length of a proud 1725 m. MIROVA indicates high thermal radiation. INSIVUMEH warns not to enter the south side of the volcano. The photo was published on February 21.

Etna paroxysm no. 7 starts

Update 10:15 am: The paroxysm has already ended and only steam is emitted. The most beautiful view was probably from the north. From the south it was very hazy. The paroxysm built up very quickly and practically without warning and lasted only about 1 hour. It was the shortest paroxysm of the series so far. Since it was practically windless, the ash cloud dominated this time. Red-hot tephra was hidden by it, and less red-hot material was erupted than usual. This is also evidenced by the relatively small lava flow that entered Valle del Bove. Towards the south, no lava at all was on its way this time.

The tremor amplitude reached a high value and was even minimally higher than during the last eruption. In summary, gas pressure was high, but less magma was erupted than in the other paroxysms. The material was more fragmented. Exact data about the height of the eruption cloud are unfortunately missing so far. The VAAC Toulouse issued 2 reports, but apparently detected the eruption only during its initial phase. Likewise values about the thermal radiation are missing. But the pictures say more than a thousand words anyway.

Update 9:30 a.m.: The paroxysm is heading towards its peak, producing a breathtaking eruption cloud. The LiveCam with the best view is linked here. Below you can see the livestream from Localteam. Unfortunately it is very hazy in the south of the volcano, so the view is a bit cloudy.

Original news: 9:15 a.m.: This morning Etna is on the move with its 7th consecutive paroxysm. Without any omens, the tremor started to increase sharply and with absolutely no wind, a lava fountain is currently (9:15 am) building up along with an ash cloud. The paroxysm came much later than the statistics would have suggested. This shows once more that nature remains unpredictable in the end.