Archived Volcano News - John Seach
February 2003


News reports posted in Eastern Australian Time (UT + 10 hr)
Reports written by John Seach

Nyamuragira Volcano (Democratic Republic of Congo)
1.408 S, 29.20 E, summit elevation 3058 m, shield volcano
Friday 28th February 2003
A seismic crisis occurred at Nyamuragira volcano on the night of 26th February. From the seismogram located at Goma there was an increase in both long period and tectonic earthquakes and an increase of the amplitude of the tremor. The summit crater was covered by clouds and therefore it was not possible to confirm an eruption. Goma Volcano Observatory is waiting for more seismograph records and staff plan an overflight of the volcano to gather further information.
More on Nyamuragira Volcano...

Stromboli Volcano (Italy)
38.79 N, 15.21 E, summit elevation 926 m, stratovolcano
Thursday 27th February 2003
The effusive eruption at Stromboli volcano, started on 28 December 2002, is still going on as on 25 February 2003. Effusion of lava between 30 December 2002 and 15 February 2003 took place from a main vent located at ~500 m a.s.l. in the middle of the Sciara del Fuoco, within the scar left over by the 30 December 2002 landslide. The position of this vent was rather stable
since its opening, on 30 Dec 2002. Another vent, located at ~600 m a.s.l. at the NE base of Crater 1 (or NE-crater), has been active several times during the eruption, forming low-effusion rate, short flows that lasted a few hours to a few days.
No explosive activity has been observed at the summit craters of the volcano, although occasional loud deep sounds have been heard between 19 January and 15 February. These are probably associated to deep explosions, and have been sometimes accompanied by brown ash emission, possibly caused by inner crater collapses. The island remains closed to visitors.
More on Stromboli Volcano...

Mt Belinda Volcano (South Sandwich Islands)
58.27 S, 26.24 E, summit elevation 1370 m
Thursday 27th February 2003
The first recorded eruption of Mount Belinda, on Montagu Island in the South Sandwich Islands, has been ongoing since late 2001 based upon analysis of thermal satellite imagery. The South Sandwich Islands comprise a remote volcanic island arc located in the South Atlantic near Antarctica, at approximately 56-60° south latitude.  Montagu is the largest of the islands, measuring about 12 km by 10 km.  Mount Belinda, rising to 1370 m asl, covers most of Montagu, and the island as a whole is about 90% ice covered.  There has been no previous record of volcanic activity on Montagu. A preliminary analysis indicates that activity began around October 2001 with ash or lava emission from the summit of Mount Belinda.  By July 2002 a significant amount of lava seems to have been effused into the broad summit crater, leading to possible modification to the summit ice cover.
Volcanoes of South Sandwich Islands...

China Earthquake (Magnitude 6.4)
Tuesday 25th February 2003
The death toll has reached 300 and the number of injured had climbed past 2,000 by Tuesday in a powerful earthquake that struck the far western Chinese region of Xinjiang Monday morning.
More than 10,000 people in the hardest hit region of Qiongku'erqiake were left completely homeless as temperatures dropped below freezing Monday night. The quake destroyed 8,800 homes. It is the largest earthquake disaster in the autonomous region of Xinjiang since the establishment of the People's Republic in 1949.
Volcanoes of China...

China Earthquake (Magnitude 6.4)
Monday 24th February 2003
A large earthquake hit SW China on Monday, February 24, 2003 at 02:03:44 (UTC). 
Location: 100 km (65 miles) E of Kashi, Xinjiang, China
220 km (135 miles) SSE of Naryn, Kyrgyzstan
310 km (190 miles) WSW of Aksu, Xinjiang, China
3330 km (2070 miles) WNW of BEIJING, Beijing, China
Location  39.63N 77.19E, Depth  33.0 kilometers.
Volcanoes of China...

Lokon-Empung Volcano (Indonesia)
1.35 N, 124.79 E, summit elevation 1580 m, stratovolcano
Thursday 20th February 2003
An explosion occurred at Lokon-Empung volcano on 18th February at 2003 hr. Ash reached 500 m above the summit.
More on Lokon-Empung Volcano...

Alaska Earthquake (Magnitude 6.6)
Wednesday 19th February 2003
A large earthquake occurred in the Unimak Island region, Alaska about 105 km (65 miles) southeast of Akutan or 1230 km (760 miles) southwest of Anchorage at 8:32 PM MST today, Feb 18, 2003 (6:32 PM AST in Alaska). A magnitude of 6.6 was computed for the earthquake. The earthquake was felt at False Pass and Dutch Harbor. No damage is expected. It is the largest earthquake in this general area since another magnitude 6.5 event on November 19, 1993. (NEIC)
Volcanoes of Alaska...

Nyiragongo Volcano (Democratic Republic of Congo)
1.52 S, 29.25 E, summit elevation 3469 m, stratovolcano
Sunday 16th February 2003
Nyiragongo volcano is erupting. For the 4th consecutive day Pelee hair is falling on the city of Goma, indicating lava fountains are active in the crater. A volcanic plume is visible 5 km above the crater. Acid rainfall and Pelee hair is contaminating water supplies in villages surrounding the volcano. Crops have been damaged by the acid rain, and livestock may be affected by eating contaminated grass. Local witnesses report hearing explosions from the volcano.
More on Nyiragongo Volcano...

New Ocean Entry at Kilauea Volcano (Hawaii)
19.425 N, 155.292 W, summit elevation 1222 m, Shield volcano
Sunday 16th February 2003
A new ocean lava entry began on the morning of 15th February 2003. The new entry is just east of Ka Lae`apuki, near the old ranger huts. The new ocean entry is called Kohola (Hawaiian for Humpback whale). The lava has covered 40-50 m of the narrow beach at the base of the sea cliff and is just starting to build out new land into the water. On 13th February lava crossed the road near the ranger hut, which had to removed to a safer location.
More on Kilauea volcano...

Lake Nyos (Cameroon)
6.44 N, 10.3 E, summit elevation 1080 m, Maars
Sunday 16th February 2003
Scientists have begun venting gas from Lake Nyos in Cameroon. The lake contains high levels of carbon dioxide A release of gas in 1984 caused fatalities. The sceintists have switched on a fountain which will will release carbon dioxide from deep in the lake. The poisonous gas builds up in the lake due to volcanic degassing and is kept under pressure by the weight of water. A sudden release of gas may be caused by any factor which disturbs the lake such as landslide. This preventative measure will reduce the volcanic hazard by decreasing the gas pressure in the lake. An earlier attempt to degas the lake was stopped in 2001 due to rusty pipes.
Volcanoes of Cameroon...

Sheveluch Volcano (Russia)
56.653 N, 161.360 E, summit elevation 3283 m, stratovolcano
Sunday 16th February 2003
Sheveluch volcano erupted on Saturday 15th February at 0140 hr (local time). Ash cloud to 15,000 ft moving west.
More on Sheveluch volcano...

Popocatepetl Volcano (Mexico)
19.023 N, 98.622 W, summit elevation 5426 m, stratovolcanoes
Saturday 15th February 2003
Popocatepetl volcano erupted on Friday morning sending glowing rocks and ash 3 miles high and up to 2 miles from the crater. The 5:34 am eruption lasted 4 minutes and created grass fires but no other damage. The ash cloud reached the gulf of Mexico coastline and became fainter as it spread north and northeast. Popocatepetl volcano resumed eruptions in 1995 after a period of quiet lasting almost 50 years.
More on Popocatepetl Volcano...

Mt Unzen Volcano (Japan)
32.75 N, 130.30 E, summit elevation 1500 m, complex volcano
Thursday 13th February 2003
Researchers in Japan are about to begin a volcano drilling project. The researchers will attempt to dissect the volcano by directly exploring the magma. The project plans to begin drilling from a mountainside 850 meters above sea level and 1.3 kilometers northwest of the lava dome of Fugen, Mt. Unzen's main peak. The drilling will reach the vent near sea level and the researchers said they are scheduled to penetrate the vent, which is several dozen meters thick and 200 meters wide, around August. The team hopes to extract a sample about 200 meters long and 15 centimeters in diameter near the vent. The magma at the vent is believed to be as hot as about 600 C and the team will use muddy water to cool equipment while drilling through the bedrock. In June 1991, a massive pyroclastic flow from the erupting volcano claimed 43 lives, including firemen and reporters, and two volcanologists.
Volcano drilling has previously triggered eruptions in Iceland (1977) and Russia (1992).
More on Mt Unzen volcano...

Papua New Guinea Earthquake (Magnitude 6.2)
Thursday 13th February 2003
A large earthquake has hit Papua New Guinea for the second time in 3 days. 
Location: 3.58 S, 144.25E. 65 km (40 miles) E of Wewak, New Guinea
Time: 12th February 22:33:30 UT.
Depth: 10 km.
No reports of damage.
More on volcanoes of Papua New Guinea...

Papua New Guinea Earthquake (Magnitude 6.3)
Tuesday 11th February 2003
A large earthquake has hit the volcanic island of  New Britain in Papua New Guinea.
The earthquake measured 6.3 on the richter scale and was located 25 miles (40 km) NE of Kandrian. There are no reports of damage. The earthquake hit at 04:49:30 on 10th February UTC. Location  6.02S 149.82E. Depth 33 km.
The island of New Britain contains a number of very active volcanoes including Rabaul, Pago, and Ulawun.
More on volcanoes of Papua New Guinea...

Tokachi Volcano (Hokkaido, Japan)
43.42 N, 142.68 E, summit elevation 2077 m, stratovolcanoes
Saturday 8th February 2003
Tremors have been recorded under Tokachi volcano in northern Japan. The tremor lasted for 37 minutes but cloud cover prevented any confirmation of eruptive activity. The seismic activity is linked to magma movement under the volcano.
More on Tokachi volcano...

Asama Volcano (Honshu, Japan)
36.40 N, 138.53 E, summit elevation 2560 m, complex volcano
Saturday 8th February 2003
A photographer noticed puffs of discolored "smoke" from the summit at noon of February 2003. A plume rising 300 m above the summit crater was recorded in the JMA video footage around 12:02. Ash deposition was too small to be visible from the volcano flanks. Deposition of faint ash on snow was confirmed only near the rim of the summit crater from the helicopter of the Nagano Prefecture in the afternoon. A tremor lasting 40 seconds corresponded to the ash emission.
More on Asama volcano...

New Volcanoes Discovered in Tonga
Thursday 6th February 2003
A team of scientists have discovered an underwater chain of 20 volcanoes in the waters of Tonga in the South Pacific. The volcanoes, rise at least 1,000 metres (3,280 feet) off the seabed in waters about 1.8 kilometres (1.2 miles) deep, are grouped together 200 kilometres south of the outermost islands of Tonga. The volcanoes are a potential danger for the Tongan archipelago. If they erupt, they could send a tidal wave over the islands. Some are still active, with craters nearly two kilometres wide. It is very rare to find so many volcanoes concentrated in one area.
Volcanoes of Tonga...

Stromboli Volcano (Italy)
38.79 N, 15.21 E, summit elevation 926 m, stratovolcano
Thursday 6th February 2003
Explosive activity is still absent from the summit of Stromboli. Seismic activity indicates five medium events per hour. Lava emits from a fissure at 500 m elevation and flows down the Sciara del Fuoco towards the sea.
More on Stromboli volcano...

Mt Etna Volcano (Italy)
37.73 N, 15.00 E, summit elevation  3350 m, Shield volcano
Tuesday 4th February 2003
Eruptions have stopped at Mt Etna. Volcanic tremor declined on 28th January, and the following day lava flows ceased from the pyroclastic cone on the southern flank of the volcano. It is likely that for at least several months there will be no eruptive activity at this volcano, then there might be a resumption of mild activity at the summit craters and some time later a new flank eruption. (Etna News)
More on Mt Etna Volcano...