Archived Volcano News - John Seach
May 2008

Reports are posted in Eastern Australian Time (UT +10 hr).
Archived Volcano News

Saturday 31st May 2008
Cerro Azul Volcano, Galápagos Islands

Cerro Azul Volcano in the Galápagos Islands erupted on Friday 30th May after 10 years of inactivity. Seismic activity was felt at Porto Villamil at 21:43 hr at the onset of the eruption. A red glow was visible at the volcano indicating a lava flow. Ash emissions extended 75 nautical miles NW of the volcano. National park staff are currently performing an overflight to determine the extent of the eruption, and the impact on the flora and fauna of the area, including rare tortoises, which live near the crater. Tortoises may have to be airlifted out of the way of lava flows. Initial information indicates lava flowed down the south side of the volcano. The last eruption in 1998 sent lava down the south side of the volcano burning several tortoises.
More on Cerro Azul Volcano...
Volcanoes of Galápagos Islands...

Saturday 31st May 2008
Chaitén Volcano, Chile

Continuous eruptions are occurring at Chaitén volcano in Chile. On 28th May ash emissions reached 4 km high and affected communities hundreds of kilometers north of the volcano. Ash forced the closure of airports at Puerto Montt, Osorno, Valdivia, and Temuco. Lower level winds scattered ash eastwards along the coast between Chaitén and Chumildén, near Talcán Island. Earthquakes have been diminishing over the past few days. The decline in seismic activity has accompanied the decrease in height of the eruption column. Larger explosive eruptions are still possible.
More on Chaitén Volcano...
Volcanoes of Chile...

Thursday 29th May 2008
Chaitén Volcano, Chile

Eruptions at Chaitén volcano in Chile have decreased, but still remain continuous. Last Sunday the column of gas and ash reached about 3.5 km above sea level, with occasional eruptions reaching 5 km high. A lava dome continues to grow in the crater and exceeds the old dome in height. South of the dome a 200 m wide crater has formed, which continuously erupts ash and gases. Ash continues to fill rivers surrounding the volcano. Lahars are still entering Chaitén town. Seismic signals from explosions, gas emission, and pyroclastic flows have decreased in intensity and frequency. Future hazards at the volcano include dome collapse with pyroclastic flows, blockage of the vent followed by larger eruptions, and lateral eruptions.
More on Chaitén Volcano...
Volcanoes of Chile...

Saturday 24th May 2008
Semeru Volcano, Indonesia

On Wednesday, Semeru Volcano in Indonesia was upgraded to level 3 alert (out of a maximum 4). During the period 15-19 May there were 432 explosion earthquakes and 6 pyroclastic flows at the volcano. On 20th May there were 92 eruption earthquakes. Eruption of ash continued for periods of 20-30 minutes at a time and reached 400 m above the summit. During the night, ash emissions were accompanied by glowing lava. Some villages are under threat from eruptions, lahars and pyroclastic flows. A 4 km exclusion zone has been placed around the southeast slope of the active crater due to the risk of pyroclastic flows. Volcanic material is building around the crater, and this could mobilise after heavy rain, causing lahars. Evacuations have not been ordered at this stage.
More on Semeru Volcano...
Volcanoes of Indonesia...

Friday 23rd May 2008
Chaitén Volcano, Chile

Eruptions continue at Chaitén volcano in Chile. A dome is forming in the active crater, with sporadic explosions and pyroclastic flows. Seismic activity consists of swarm of hybrid events which indicates movement of magmatic fluids and gases, low and high frequency earthquakes. The alert level remains at the highest rating, RED.
More on Chaitén Volcano...
Volcanoes of Chile...

Saturday 17th May 2008
Chaitén Volcano, Chile

Continuous eruptions are occurring at Chaitén volcano in Chile. The airfield at Chaitén town has been covered by ash and water, and is currently not able to be used. Ash and pumice is floating northwards along the Chile coast. The bay near Chaitén contains run-off from rivers with a milky-green colour. A large amount of sediment has blocked river channels, and lahars will continue to overflow river edges. Over the past two days there has been a marked change in seismic activity at the volcano. Earthquake swarms indicate fracturing of the main conduit, and possible ascent of magma towards the surface. Increasing pressure from magma is creating a potential explosion hazard, and collapse of the dome, generating pyroclastic flows.
More on Chaitén Volcano...
Volcanoes of Chile...

Thursday 15th May 2008
Mt Etna Volcano, Italy

Eruptions have increased at Mt Etna volcano in Italy. A series of about twelve earthquakes have occurred at the summit of the volcano, the largest being magnitude 3.9. On Tuesday a fracture opened at the base of southeast crater between 2500 m and 2900 m above sea level. Strombolian activity has begun at southeast crater and lava flowed to the Valle del Bove and descended to an altitude of 1300 m.
More on Mt Etna Volcano...
Volcanoes of Italy...

Wednesday 14th May 2008
Gamalama Volcano, Indonesia

Gamalama volcano in Indonesia has been upgraded to level 2 alert (out of maximum 4). An increase in gas emissions from the active crater, and volcanic tremor, indicates magma is rising towards the surface. On 11th May emissions reached a height of 500 m above the summit. A 2 km exclusion zone has been placed around the crater.
More on Gamalama Volcano...
Volcanoes of Indonesia...

Wednesday 14th May 2008
Chaitén Volcano, Chile

On Monday 12th May, emissions from Chaitén volcano in Chile reached an altitude of 8 km. Pyroclastic flows have burned several hectares of forest. A vertical dome is located in a 1 km wide crater. The Chaitén River has overflowed due to silting up from ash and pumice, and lahars extended 200 m either side of the river. About 40 buildings, and many vehicles, were buried by the lahars. Lahars remain an ongoing hazard at the volcano. Earthquakes greater than magnitude 3, and earthquake swarms lasting 5 minutes have been recorded at the volcano.
More on Chaitén Volcano...
Volcanoes of Chile...

Sunday 11th May 2008
Chaitén Volcano, Chile

Ash emissions continue at Chaitén volcano in Chile. There has been interruptions in electricity supplies in Futaleufu due to the accumulation of ash. Drinking water has been supplied by truck from Argentina. Medical assessments and preventative vaccinations are taking place for the affected population. Bulldozers are working to clear ash from roads. Evacuees at Puerto Montt have been supplied with blankets and matresses. Over the next few days predicted winds will blow ash towards Argentina.
More on Chaitén Volcano...
Volcanoes of Chile...

Sunday 11th May 2008
Karymsky Volcano, Russia

An eruption has occurred at Karymsky volcano, Kamchatka, Russia. A surge in seismic activity was recorded at the volcano. Ash emissions reached 4.5 km altitude. There is no danger to nearby settlements.
More on Karymsky Volcano...
Volcanoes of Kamchatka...

Sunday 11th May 2008
Mt Etna Volcano, Italy

Eruptions started yesterday at Mt Etna volcano in Italy. Lava fountains were visible at SE crater and lava flowed into the Valle del Bove. The eruption lasted 4 hours from 14:00 to 18:00 hr (UT).
More on Mt Etna Volcano...
Volcanoes of Italy...

Saturday 10th May 2008
Chaitén Volcano, Chile

Eruptions continue at Chaitén volcano in Chile. Small pyroclastic flows have been observed at the volcano descending eastwards into Raya river. Yesterday, the eruption column reached an altitude of 14 km at 2pm, and drifted northeast. A new crater has opened up at the western base of the dome. Seismic monitoring equipment has been moved from the town of Chaitén to a safer location on Talcán island. The number of volcano-tectonic earthquakes remains constant at 35 events per day, concentrated on the outer regions of the volcano. Two large explosions occurred on 6th and 7th May (23:35 hr). A shallow reservoir of magma at 5 km depth has been ascending towards the surface. Breaking of rock in the conduit due to magma ascent has been responsible for the large explosions. An ongoing hazard at the volcano is the collapse of eruption columns, or dome collapse, creating pyroclastic flows which descend radially from the volcano into adjacent valleys. Helicopter overflights will continue to visually monitor the volcano as well as retrieve seismic data. The alert level remains at the highest rating, RED.
More on Chaitén Volcano...
Volcanoes of Chile...

Saturday 10th May 2008
Rabaul Volcano, Papua New Guinea

Ashfall from Rabaul Volcano in Papua New Guinea has closed Tokua airport, forcing the cancellation of six flights. East New Britain’s Civil Aviation Authority said ash had been falling on the runway since Wednesday night. The runway would be fully cleared if winds change direction or if there was heavy rainfall. Rabaul's crater has been continuously deflating, going down by eight metres since the 1970s. No new material is being formed. The current eruption is old magma from beneath the caldera.
More on Rabaul Volcano...
Volcanoes of Papua New Guinea..

Thursday 8th May 2008
Chaitén Volcano, Chile

Ash from
Chaitén volcano in Chile has reached Buenos Aires in Argentina. Three airlines - Aerolinas Argentinas, Austral and Chile's LAN have canceled flights across the region. Eruptions continue at the volcano for the sixth day, with plumes reaching 33,000 ft altitude. The last group of military personnel and civilians from the vicinity of Chaitén volcano were evacuated before dawn on Thursday, after reports of emission of burning material. An evacuation zone of 50 km radius has been placed around the volcano.
More on Chaitén Volcano...
Volcanoes of Chile...

Wednesday 7th May 2008
Chaitén Volcano, Chile

Five shallow focus earthquakes (10 km depth), larger than magnitude 4, accompanied the eruption of
Chaitén volcano in Chile. The earthquakes occurred in a region of low historical seismicity, therefore were probably related to the eruption of the volcano.

Earthquake Magnitude Date/Time (Local) Distance from Chaitén volcano
4.4 Wednesday, April 30, 2008 at 11:52 PM 17km E
5.3 Friday, May 02, 2008 at 01:51 AM 30km NE
4.9 Friday, May 02, 2008 at 07:13 AM 13km NW
4.1 Friday, May 02, 2008 at 06:13 PM 16km SW
5.0 Friday, May 02, 2008 at 10:36 PM 30 km NE


More on Chaitén Volcano...
Volcanoes of Chile...

Wednesday 7th May 2008
Chaitén Volcano, Chile

On 6th of May the eruption at
Chaitén volcano in Chile intensified with the eruption column reaching an altitude of 30 km (100,000 ft). This makes the eruption possibly the largest since Pinatubo in 1991. The nearby town of Chaitén could end up buried, like the Roman city of Pompeii following Mount Vesuvius' eruption in 79 A.D. Volcanic ash is already 5 feet deep in some places. Volcanic material from Chaiten's last eruption measured up to 2 m (6 feet) in places. During a helicopter overflight on 6th May at 10:00 hr, observations showed two explosion craters on the northern side of the dome had merged to form a single crater with a diameter of 800 m. Lava is rising in the crater but has not yet spilled over. There have been no reports of pyroclastic flows. So far, Chaiten has emitted only a few thousand tons of sulphur dioxide. In 1991 Mt Pinatubo eruption in the Philippines emitted 20 million tons of sulphur dioxide in 1991, and caused a brief period of global cooling.
More on Chaitén Volcano...
Volcanoes of Chile...

Wednesday 7th May 2008
Chaitén Volcano, Chile

Renewed vigorous eruptions occurred
at Chaitén volcano in Chile on Tuesday. A government volcanologist warned that the eruption was only at the beginning stage and that a larger explosive eruption was possible. On Tuesday the volcano was exploding very strongly. Nearly 400 people from the surrounding area, including emergency workers and journalists, were put aboard two navy ships and other vessels and taken to safety. The eruption has affected an area with 30 km radius . People who refused to leave their homes were evacuated by force. Only a contingency force of about 50 police and navy personnel were left in the town. Buildings and streets in Chaitén town have been covered with a thick blanket of ash up to 30 cm deep. In Futaleufu, a town 70 kilometers southeast of Chaiten, its 1,800 inhabitants were either being evacuated or fleeing over the border to Argentina. Ash from Chaitén volcano is also reaching Argentina.
More on Chaitén Volcano...
Volcanoes of Chile...

Tuesday 6th May 2008
Chaitén Volcano, Chile

Eruptions continue for a fourth day at
Chaitén volcano in Chile. Evacuations have occurred at a second town, Futaleufu. Some residents have evacuated across the border to Argentina. Around 25,000 head of cattle in the area are in serious danger of dying. President Michelle Bachelet briefly visited Chaiten and spoke with some of the few remaining residents. At shelters in Puerto Montt, evacuees sought the president's support to rebuild outside the path of the volcano. Most of Chaiten's 4500 residents fled as the eruption polluted air and water supplies.
More on Chaitén Volcano...
Volcanoes of Chile...

Sunday 4th May 2008
Chaitén Volcano, Chile

More
than 4000 people have been evacuated from Chaitén town and surrounding areas after Chaitén volcano erupted on Friday. Many people have evacuated by boat to the town of Castro on the island of Chiloe. Southern Chile is fragmented into hundreds of small islands and fjords. Some people are now staying in guesthouses, while schools have been turned into makeshift shelters. The volcano has continued to emit ash for a second day. Ash has also fallen across the border in Chubut province, Argentina.
More on Chaitén Volcano...
Volcanoes of Chile...

Saturday 3rd May 2008
Chaitén Volcano, Chile

An overflight of Chaitén volcano this morning showed a dense column of white to grey emissions reaching a height of 20 km, and drifting SSE with the prevailing winds.
The geological record of Chaitén volcano shows a history of pyroclastic flows and ashfall. This explosive character of the volcano suggests that ashfall may reach a considerable distance from the volcano. Pyroclastic flows are possible, and are associated with dome collapse. The volcano is not covered with ice and there is no immediate danger from lahars.
More on Chaitén Volcano...
Volcanoes of Chile...

Saturday 3rd May 2008
ChaitÚn Volcano, Chile

ChaitÚn volcano in southern Chile erupted yesterday for the first time in over 9000 years. The volcano is located 10 km NE of the town of Chaitén on the Gulf of Corcovado. A magnitude 4.1 shallow earthquake hit 16 km SW of the volcano on the same day. The national emergency office and residents initially identified the source of the ash as Michimahuida volcano, which has erupted more recently, but later identified the source as Chaitén. There has been continuous emission of ash. The government evacuated as many as 1,500 people from nearby villages and the town of Chaiten when the volcano erupted ash, and more than 60 earthquakes were recorded. Officials distributed fresh water and more than 10,000 protective masks. Trucks with drinking water were being sent to the area after ash affected water supplies. School classes were suspended in some areas. Winds also carried ash over the Andes to Argentina, where school was suspended in the popular Patagonian tourist towns of Esquel and Trevelin. Authorities declared a state of alert on major highways as falling ash reduced visibility, and hospitals reported an patients complaining of eye irritation.
More on ChaitÚn Volcano...
Volcanoes of Chile...

Friday 2nd May 2008
Ruapehu Volcano, New Zealand

Ruapehu Volcano in New Zealand is showing signs of increasing activity. The Department of Conservation issued a warning to climbers of an increased chance of eruption from the crater lake. Risks to people entering the Summit Hazard Zone within 2km of Crater Lake are assessed to be higher than normal, due to an increase in gas emission. The alert level remains at Level One.
More on Ruapehu Volcano...
Volcanoes of New Zealand...

Friday 2nd May 2008
Bobrof Volcano, Alaska

A large earthquake (magnitude 6.6) occurred 8 km west of Bobrof Volcano in Alaska on Thursday 1st May 2008 at 04:33 PM local time. The earthquake focus was 10 km depth. There have been no recent eruptions at Bobrof Volcano.
More on Bobrof Volcano...
Volcanoes of Alaska...