The Friday Update #2 (12/2/16)

Sakurajima from

Sakurajima from

The Friday Update #2 (13/2/16)

Firstly, a massive thank you to all the words of support from everyone. When I decided to start this project, I was unsure how it would be recieved and I have been encouraged greatly by the support shown by everyone!


The European volcanoes appear to be having a bit of a rest at the moment, with virtually no activity reported from any of them.  Only Stromboli has had any activity of note in recent days and event then only a “light ash plume” was reported by a pilot near the summit of the volcano according to a report by the Toulouse VAAC.



Friday started with a bang in Asia, Literally!!  at the end of last weeks report, I posted that Sakurajima had burst into life with a spectacular explosion. This was the first explosion of the year at the volcano.

Further activity was seen starting on the 8th and continuing until the 11th with 6 minor explosive eruptions similar to the first.


KVERT reports that “moderate eruptive activity” continues from Karymsky.  The Tokyo VAAC reporting almost daily plumes and these plumes have been reaching up to 15,000 feet.


Zhapanovski continued its eruption cylce from last month throwing plumes up to 22,000 feet (7KM) on the 5th of February and also on the 9th according to the Tokyo VAAC reports and KVERT.


In Indonesia, Soputan, multiple explosions were reported on the 6th and 7th of February with “thunderous explosions” reported by the locals. Strombolian activity, pyroclastic flows were witnessed. A plume from this volcano would eventually reach 4km.


Over at the Tengger Caldera, Bromo continues to throw ash and tephra into the air.  with Volcano Discovery reporting “moderate strombolian-type explosions” and “phases of more or less vigorous ash venting”.



A report from the Darwin VAAC reported a plumes up to almost 3km over the period from Dukono.


Sinabung keeps throwing plumes into the sky and extruding it’s lava lobe, which continues to break off, sending pyroclastic flows down its slopes



Our friend Rene Goad tweeted that “Wellington VAAC reports small constant minor eruptions on Ambrym.” Unfortunately, I was unable to find this report on the Wellington VAAC and an internet search failed to turn anything up.


South America

Activity at Nevados del Chillan continued on the 5th and 6th with a plume reported on both days, but there was no reported activity on the Buenos Airaire VAAC to correspond to this.

nevados de chillan

Copahue was reported to have produce an almost continuous plume of mainly steam and gas, but some minor ashemmisions also.  But a more vigorous emission was witnessed on the 8th and 9th.   


Ecuador’s Reventador had a minor eruption on the 5th according to an isolated VAAC report,but I have been unable to find out much beyond this.


Central America

The last week has seen the activity at Colima and Popocatepetl continue with the same pattern of activity that we have mentioned in the previous report.  Both these volcanoes have thrown multiple plumes and provided some spectacular images over the period.



In Guatemala, there have been 2 volcanoes that have provided us with some exceedingly impressive images this week. First up is Santiagutio, and according to the Smithsonian GVP website, a large blast occurred on the 7th of October and the shockwave from this was felt 25km away.  Pyroclastic flows were seen on the east and south-east flanks.


The other volcano in Guatemala that has provided us with excitement is Fuego.  

The activity on Fuego appears to have increased over the week with strong strombolian eruptions, pyroclastic flows and lava flows which reach 2km down the flank of the volcano.


Over in Costa Rica, the Turrialba volcano had a minor eruption of smoke and ash reaching 1km into the sky.  



So, this ends another weeks report.

Have I missed anything? please let me know in the comments 😀

I still haven’t quite decided how this will eventually be formatted when I’ve been doing it for a while.  It may end up more like last week’s, where every day has a run down of that day’s activity or if it will be more like this weeks.

What will be doing is continuing to post images from Twitter, these are normally screen grabs from the webcams, but occasionally a local resident will be out with their camera and capture something spectacular. 
As ever, I welcome comments, corrections and criticsm and I look forward to hearing from everyone.


63 thoughts on “The Friday Update #2 (12/2/16)

  1. Superb report Tommy although the elegance of your presentation belies the immense effort behind its compilation!

  2. I like these reports a lot. The globes show well that south is best for volcanoes – although most land is in the north.

    The only one that was missed was yesterday’s colliding black holes. An eruption that outshone the rest of the Universe combined by a factor of 50 – even if only for a tenth of a second. Sinabung pales in comparison.

    • I agree, it was a scientific and physical eruption on a scale that it will take a hundred years to sink in.

      And, as I have told Albert before, I am jealous that you where there as the news was presented.

  3. Thanks for another interesting eruption recap! It’s to early to tell which format feels better but I like the Gurglé Earth caps a lot

  4. I like these friday reports on worldwide events; cheers for doing them.

    I wonder what became of the colliding black holes?

    • Luckily we have Albert, he is one of the best people on the planet to explain that event. And if we quietly poke Albert in the right direction we could perhaps get a little something on that eruption in here..? Please… 🙂

      But, I think Tommy omitted those due to them technically not being volcanoes.

  5. Excellent post! Could you please keep on providing the estimated plume height, when data is available. I’m in commercial aviation and these posts really help in guarding aviation safety! Thank you so much!

    • “The prudent mariner will not rely solely on any single aid to navigation, particularly on floating aids.”

      On behalf of Volcanocafe, We appreciate the accolades, but please, don’t rely on us as a single source of info on plumes. That’s why they made the Volcanic Ash Advisory Centers. We are just a bunch of volcano fans and may very well miss fast developing scenarios. And don’t forget the NOTAMs.

    • Always turn to the latest VAAC reports if you are in commercial aviation.
      Those are constantly updated.

      • I always do ( my company has had hand-on experience with volcanic ash cloud encounter, so we’re thouroughly trained and familiarized with ashtams and Vaac’s). I wanted to compliment you and the author of these weekly post on the great general picture you provide of what’s going on in volcano-land.We get colorcodes, but what we don’t get is some sort of historic overview on what these colors actually have produced e.g. which volcanoes have been spewing in the past few weeks and to what extend. That’s why this is very complementary to the Vaac’s and ashtams we get. So please keep up the good work and if you happen to have the information available, please do add the estimated eruption column height. Extremely valuable info.

  6. First of all I would like to thank Tommy for all the hard work. It takes a lot of time to do this.

    Second of all I would like to give everyone a glimpse into what might be the most impressive article series we have ever presented. It has been a year in the making now.

    It has been written for you by two of the brightest cookies on the planet (and beyond).

    • They forgot the Heinlein Spaceport and Cantina..;-)
      Enjoy the Volcano report very much….
      I’m having issues with my Glasses as my newish pair
      got broken due to an accident. and now I’m using my
      backups…Relying on spellcheck for accuracy-not 100%
      Hopefully I won’t have to fly I’d hate to turn a trip down..

  7. Hobbes, I must add my impression of what you are doing in this series too. It has all been said above but I wish to summarize and really thank you. In addition to the incredible images (I particularly appreciated the, mysterious halo around Popocatépetl (Con un halo misterioso) – stunning, the most useful information to me are the GE images showing the location of each volcano. That and the associated links is very valuable to the reader. 🙂 Perhaps some reader might be able to summarize activity in a selected region and provide you with the same therefore decreasing the load for you?(not me, I do not have the time as atm we are renovating an old farm house, an endless project).

  8. How is this for earthquakes affecting volcanoes. The M4 in Hawaii started off the next DI event. The quake was some distance from Kileauea: I would guess it shaked the magma up a bit and triggered the overturn which must have been due shortly anyway. Pushing it over the edge.

    • Hm, very interesting.
      It would, if correct, be one of the very few times an earthquake had affected a volcano into erupting.
      There are a couple of eruptions that may or may not have been caused by a large nearby earthquake, but in all of them there is the question about cause, effect and causation.
      I think we would need more data.
      For instance, did the tectonic distant earthquake start an increase in local volcanotectonic type earthquakes quickly? Was there a progression of those events leading from the tectonic earthquake to current status?

      • Well – it didn’t start an eruption as such (it has had a lava lake for quite a long time now), but a deflation-inflation event. Kind of a breathing episode where the volcano gets slightly smaller and larger. Kilauea does that a lot. It is probably due to magma turning over in the conduit or shallow magma chamber: cooling magma at the top sinking and hotter magma from below taking its place (think lava lamp), all happening underground. The earthquake seems to have triggered such a deflation event. The level in the lava lake normally goes down during the deflation – I don’t know whether that was the case today as well.

        • Ah, then I understand.
          Basically the same thing that happened repeatedly in Bárdarbunga during those odd double-couple earthquakes where cool magma in the upper chamber sank almost instantly while being replaced by hot deep magma.
          I did not know that happened in Hawai’i too. One learn something new each day 🙂

          • I think the term is non-double couple. Double couple (DC) is the standard tectonic event that gives a nice and clean beach ball. The odd BB quakes had a strong compensated linear vector dipole (CLVD) component, so the beach balls look more like eyeballs.

            I don’t really buy the theory of shifting magma as the cause for the odd BB quakes. You would get the same signature from a rupture along a cone shaped ring fault. Since the moment tensor solutions for the larger quakes during the Holuhraun event had a similar signature, and those likely came from the ring fault surrounding the subsiding plug, I think there is a fair chance that the older odd quakes also came from movement along the ring fault.

            The Gjálp eruption is a bit of a mystery. It really looks like there is an intrusion moving from BB towards Grimsvötn, causing magma to leave the chamber under BB with caldera subsidence (and those odd quakes) as a result. I even think I read somewhere that satellite measurements showed subsidence at BB. I have been looking at the recorded quake sequence from that event, and there was almost no activity in Grimsvötn at all, but plenty of action (and a small eruption) at BB.

            The weirdest thing about Gjálp, is that from the quakes it looks like it came out of BB, but the erupted material bears the isotope signature of Grimsvötn. Could BB magma have hit an old pocket of Grimsvötn magma, causing the eruption signature to look like Grimsvötn’s, even though it was mainly fed from BB?

            In the post from May 2014 on the old site, where you predicted the Holuhraun event, you also mentioned that you were not convinced that Gjálp came out of Grimsvötn. Therefore, I was a bit surprised that you listed it under Grimsvötn in the 100 years of Iceland post. Was it the isotope signature that changed your mind? I actually meant to write this comment to the 100 years of Iceland post (great post BTW), but never got the time to do it.

          • You are absolutely correct Tomas, I forgot to type in the non… Or did I non-type in non? Hm 🙂

            In regards of Gjálp, it is good to remember that Grimsvötn is mysteriously quiet prior to, and during, an eruption. It of course has seismic activity, but it is a few orders of magnitude to small compared to say for instance Bárdarbunga. My interpretation for that is that the volcanoes frequent eruptions have left pretty much every possible conduit wide open.
            I favour a mechanical connection over a magmatic as a solution to the earthquakes moving from Bárdarbunga towards Grimsvötn since I believe that the magmatic pressure is higher in Grimsvötn compared to Bárdarbunga since that would explain why the intrusion from Bárdarbunga did a 90 degree turn away from Grimsvötn as soon as the intrusion hit Grimsvötns fissure swarm.

          • Interesting observation: the beach balls for all older quakes up until the Gjálp eruption were all of different polarity than the quakes during the Holuhraun episode (source: global CMT catalogue). I believe this means that the older quakes were all caused by inflation, ie reverse faulting along the ring fault as the plug was being pushed up. In 1996, the pressure caused a radial fault that triggered the Gjálp eruption as well as an eruption inside the caldera.

            It would be really interesting to see beach balls of the current activity, to see if the plug is still settling, or if it has started to reverse. Unfortunately, the M3 quakes are too small to make it into the beach ball catalogue…

          • Albert; just a qualifier. What got my memory cells ticking over wasn’t the earthquake connection, but the idea of magma ‘turnover’ an idea which Jaggar himselfn derived, I believe, from watching the Kilauea lake. Sorry about that, my post was a bit unclear

          • Well, that would explain the terminology used. epimagma – magma on the periphery, pyromagma – magma that is hotter than other magma.

          • I saw that he did mention the topic of earthquakes in the abstract of this article. Yes, magma turn-over has been known for a long time. The DI events measured by the GPS were linked to it more recently, I believe.

      • More interesting coincidences. Significant earthquake in Oklahoma (M5). It is in the general area where the underground disposal of water used in oil extraction has caused daily quakes. That has been going on for almost a decade now, but quakes this size are very rare even in this artificial swarm. This may be big enough to have done damage – would the oil companies pay for it?

        • Hello Albert!

          This is a really good question.
          I for one have a problem with the water injection being the reason for the larger earthquakes.
          The water injection is done for 3 reasons. The first one is to maintain pressure in the oil reservoir, the second is to further fracture the oil-bearing bedrock so that more oil can be extracted, and the third reason is so that there will not be any subsidence above the oil-reservoir.
          The first part would leave small earthquakes or tremor, typically in the M1 to M2 range. While fracturing the bedrock it could rise up to M3 earthquakes, but only temporarily. The third reason would actually lower the amount of earthquakes since the alleviated subsidence would have caused larger earthquakes.

          What I think is that we have a cause, effect and causation thing running here. Most likely the larger earthquakes are from an hitherto unknown fault-line that is on the move again. In theory the heightened pressure during fracking could have pushed liquids into that unknown fault-line and helped to relieve pent up strain. But as long as the hypothetical fault-line is an unknown this is just idle speculation.
          Looking at the beachballs they seem like tectonic earthquakes and not like they are caused by delamination.

          I would be very careful to stay out of that ruckuss, it is more about bruised feelings and politics than science.

          • The induced quakes are stronger than you are expecting. There are up t (and over) 100 quakes per year of M3+. Before 2009 there were a few each year. I think the largest quake considered induced was M5.5 or so. You can argue over how it as triggered, and for any individual quake it is hard to proof the exact cause. For the swarm overall, there is little doubt. And it certainty goes well above M3 on a very regular basis. In an area that it is not inactive, but is not a high risk region otherwise

          • In some cases an earthquake can be larger. What I said about earthquake strengths are to be viewed as the norm, not incorporating outlayers.
            In this case it was induced by re-injection. Here is what has been published about todays M5.1 in Oklahoma.
            I am citing it directly since you don’t have Facebook. Quote is from John Vidale at Pacific Northwest Seismic Network commenting on it.
            “Oklahoma quake, operational sentences – “likely, the rupture began at 2 km depth, near the base of an injection well, and ruptured downward. Natural (or tectonic) earthquakes rarely rupture downward, particularly from such a shallow depth, which makes the inference that both quakes are induced more likely. The observation that the region was seismically quiet until recently also suggests that fluid injection began recently, and so long inactive but stressed faults became lubricated.””

            It was a strike/slip on an existing fault-line, and my point is once again made. This man-made earthquake alleviated pent up stress by releasing it on a local scale thusly preventing a future larger earthquake.

            In the end Oklahoma deserves research. As far as I know nobody has made a detailed study of the earthquakes on an individual level ascertaining type, origin and depth for every single earthquake, and before that is done it is mainly speculation and not facts. It would also require detailed study of the morphology of the geologic setting.
            In this case it seems like they broke the cardinal rule of re-injection that I mentioned in my article about geothermal energy; “Do not re-inject into or near a fault-line.” Or that the company in question did not have any way of knowing about the fault-line. But we can’t be sure since we do not have all the facts at our disposal.

        • I believe that Oklahoma no longer has a seismologist on its state geology department. I recall reading a recent post that they have all left due to political interference. Seems like the oil companies to not want any one sniffing around and pinning the blame on them. The USGS is rather certain that the injection wells are the cause of this problem.

          • It is probably one of the least wanted geology positions on the planet.
            Not only would some of the oil companies be leaning on him, but there would also be a lot of citizens leaning on him, and after that we would have the assorted tinfoilers harassing him.

            I would though like to put a bet that some of the larger oil companies knows exactly what is happening since they tend to employ some of the brightest geologists on the planet. But, if they tried to explain what is happening pretty much nobody would believe them.

            I am though going to make a bet. Most of the serious mid-sized and upwards oil-companies are following procedures and are causing a minimal amount of the problems. I would look at the smaller companies with tight purses trying to cut corners. It is my experience from the corporate world that it is when money is tight that shortcuts are made.

            These are my personal five cents and not to be thought of as the truth in any way. I am just a random dude with a bit of knowledge in the field that knows very little about the geology in the region.

          • I hate to tell you this, but I don’t think the corner-cutting that led to the Deepwater Horizon spill, and, more recently, that huge natural gas leak in California, was perpetrated by the “smaller companies”.

          • I do not know anything about the methane-hubbub other than that it is big, so I will not discuss that one.

            Deepwater Horizon was though odd, all equipment was according to rules and regulations, all equipment had passed inspections and Deepwater Horizon was at the time seen as a role-model for how a deep-water drill-rig should be operated.
            My personal opinion is that the industry and the governmental agencies in question should sit down and hammer out what regulations was missing at the time of the accident, because we do not ever want to see that crapola again. Perhaps the obvious answer is to limit drill depth and drill-site depth in the oceans.

            On another note, personally I am not always in favour of sub-contracting vital operations since you loose control of things that should be kept in control by the main company.
            And I was not saying that large companies do not do the wrong things from time to time. But, on a percentage they tend to behave a bit better due to having better technical expertise and their own compliance officers, and quite frankly they have more to loose than the smaller ones.

            Please remember that I am not speaking about particular cases, I am talking in general terms here. In general the amount of over-sight on governmental level is to low and the spot-checks to few. And most of all, the consequences is not dire enough if you break the regulations. This is true for almost every country on the planet.

  9. And one for Lurkings collection of Homo Stultus…

    In Sweden at the European Expressway 4 at Södertälje the bridge had been opened over a canal. The height of the bridge was 26.5 meters so it was a pretty sizeable ship that was passing under it.
    As the bridge was closing a car with five men in it raced past and hit several of the parked cars, on the way the car also passed several red lights and drove through a road barrier.
    The car promptly fell down into the icy water and all five in the car died.
    The working theory is that they though they could jump the bridge. Only problem… The part that opens that could theoretically be used as a jump-ramp was on the other side of the bridge… Homo Stultus in action.

    • Morbid, but I couldn’t help but chuckle.

      Thank you for that. 😀

      RIP for the idiots. The part about the event that saddens me, is there was probably someone in that vehicle that did not want to do that and failed to voice that opinion forcibly. Better to get arrested for assault than to die at the hands of a fool.

      • I think that band just reached immortality with what has to be rock’n’roll- history’s most bizarre death.
        Remember that they careened into the parked cars, ran red lights and drove through a road barrier before attempting the apparent jump on the wrong side of the canal.

      • And for Lurking… It seems that not only Homo Stultus is dying in odd ways.
        In Russia there has been an outbreak of philosophy murders, most famous is the Immanuel Kant murder where a person was shot in a grocery store over a discussion about Kant’s theory on morality. Another was over the importance of silence in the works of Heidegger.

        Now the literary part of Russia has taken up the gauntlet and started killing each other over what is better literature, poetry or prose.

    • There was a quake of the same size and almost exactly this location on Jan. 20. That seems to be the pattern at the moment in Bardy: the larger earthquakes repeat after 3-4 weeks.

  10. One bit of feedback that I hope will be taken constructively: embedding the Twitter pics rather than just linking them would save a lot of mousing if you want to browse the photos.

  11. on a often asked and debated question, do earthquakes cause volcanic eruptions, in my opinion it is all part of the bigger picture like the earth is a moving, living and continuously evolving entity. this new application shines a picture in us talking about P/S waves etc,it shows that everything is inter connected.

  12. And for Lurking… It seems that not only Homo Stultus is dying in odd ways.
    In Russia there has been an outbreak of philosophy murders, most famous is the Immanuel Kant murder where a person was shot in a grocery store over a discussion about Kant’s theory on morality. Another was over the importance of silence in the works of Heidegger.

    Now the literary part of Russia has taken up the gauntlet and started killing each other over what is better literature, poetry or prose.

    Being an intellectual in Russia seems to be risky business.

  13. Sometimes you just have to much spare time on a Sunday afternoon.

    In 134 043 478 years, about the 15th of May, San Francisco and Los Angeles will become one city due to the plate tectonic motion represented at the San Andreas Fault. It will by then have had about 1 000 000 M7+ earthquakes.
    How is that for landscaping?

    • Are you sure about that? I think you are off by like 2 weeks.

      You must be using a 32 bit computer. 😉

      • I guess it is within the error margin 😉

        I wonder what they will name that future monstrosity of a City. I would propose Hotel California after the last bird (Eagle).

        • Don’t forget that it is generally accepted that the Monterey canyon was produced by outflow from the Colorado river. Eventually it shifted north and the outflow went south towards the Salton sea, eventually sedimenting the path to the gulf of California. Over even more time, it’s path to the Salton sink was cut off and it dried out, until an unfortunate canal break flooded the sink making the current Salton sea until they could repair the break.

    • Did you account for the 34.5 million leap days? If you do not, it will happen 89019 years earlier, and around Dec 1.

      • Bummer… I did not. 🙂

        With that correction El Anfrisces will be born on the first of December in the year 133 956 475 around mid morning.

    • landscaping is a hit and miss exercise, sometimes nothing happens other times a lot, so you might not have to wait that long, our system is a tiny part of the universe and things have a tendency to go boom in its own good time..
      Humans think and God does, this is a loose translation of a German saying my grandmother used and as I get older I find there has been a lot of truth in what she used to say.
      Sunday is just another day, work needs to be done regardless,

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