Archived Volcano News - John Seach
July 2003


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

Dieng Volcano (Indonesia)
7.2 S, 109.9 E, summit elevation 2565 m, complex Volcano
Thursday 31st July 2003
The report below has not been verified.
Government authorities in Central Java province have put residents living near the Dieng volcano on 'top alert' for a possible major eruption, officials said on Wednesday. The Sileri crater, one of several active craters on the Dieng mountain range, has witnessed increased activity over the past several days, belching hot lava containing sulphur onto nearby areas. Villagers living in a 1 kilometer radius of the crater, have to stay on alert for a possible major eruption or poisonous gas from the Sileri crater. For the time being, the Sileri crater is closed to tourists. No evacuation had been ordered as yet, even though hectares of potatoes and other vegetable plantations in a radius of 100 metres from the crater had already been heavily damaged.
More on Dieng Volcano...

Stromboli Volcano (Italy)
38.79 N, 15.21 E, summit elevation 926 m, stratovolcano
Thursday 31st July 2003
The flank eruption started at Stromboli volcano on 28 December 2002 finished on 22 July 2003. Strombolian activity from Crater 1 (the NE crater) became more frequent and intense in June, and almost continuous in July, with spatter often falling outside the crater rim. Crater 3 (the SW crater) showed in July mainly degassing and sporadic ash emissions, with strombolian explosions becoming more common on the second half of July.
More on Stromboli volcano...
Location map...

Bezymianny Volcano (Russia)
55.97 N, 160.58 E, summit elevation 2882 m, stratovolcano
Sunday 27th July 2003
Bezymyanny volcano in Kamchatka (Russia's Far East) has woken up with a large eruption. Bezymyanny erupted on Saturday 26th July at 13hrs 20 min, Moscow time. The volcano is bursting forth vast masses of gas, ash and steam to the height of 8 kilometres above the crater. The emissions have accumulated in a cloud heading toward the village of Kozyrevsk located some 50 km off the volcano. Lava is currently moving down the eastern slope of the volcano at the velocity of 30 km per hour. The current eruption poses no danger for the peninsula's towns and villages. However, the ash ejected en masse by the volcano jeopardizes safety of the local air travel and poses problems for the tourists, fishers and hunters engaged in the area. 
More on Bezymianny Volcano...

Popocatepetl Volcano (Mexico)
19.023 N, 98.622 W, summit elevation 5426 m, stratovolcano
Sunday 27th July 2003
Mexico's Popocatepetl volcano shot glowing rock and ash high into the air Friday night, triggering a thunderous explosion that panicked some residents in nearby communities. On July 19, two minutes of fierce explosions atop the volcano sent a dark plume of smoke 1.8 miles into the sky and rained ash on the Mexican capital. Since then, disaster officials have prevented people from going within seven miles of the volcano's crater.
More on Popocatepetl Volcano...

Santa Maria Volcano (Guatemala)
14.756 N,  91.552 W, summit elevation 3772 m, stratovolcano
Thursday 24th July 2003
Eruption of Santa Maria volcano started at 1330 hr (UT) on 23rd July. Ash and gases moved towards the west rising to 15,000 ft. Ash dissipated by 1615 hr.
More on Santa Maria Volcano...

Mount Kenya (Kenya)
0° 09' S, 37° 18' E, summit elevation 5199 m., extinct volcano
Monday 21st July 2003
A South African-registered aircraft carrying a dozen tourists and two crew has crashed into Mount Kenya. The twin-engine Fairchild Metro turboprop ploughed into Point Lenana, the third-highest peak on Mount Kenya, an extinct volcano, at 6pm local time (1500GMT) on Saturday. A 21-member team of police investigators and Kenyan Wildlife Services recovery workers reached the site Monday and began examining wreckage that was scattered over a large area at around 16,000 feet. The aircraft had been completely destroyed, and debris was scattered on two rock outcrops on either side of the point of impact.
More on Mt Kenya...

Popocatepetl Volcano (Mexico)
19.023 N, 98.622 W, summit elevation 5426 m, stratovolcano
Sunday 20th July 2003
Popocatepetl volcano exhaled a plume of ash on Saturday morning and layered Mexico City in white volcanic dust, sending surprised residents seeking cover. The volcano sent up a 1.8-mile (3-km) high plume of ash and incandescent fragments at 9:20 a.m. local time (1420 GMT). Residents rushed into pharmacies to buy surgical masks to cover their mouths, while radio programs warned people to keep their heads covered and wash the ash off their cars carefully, as the fine volcanic particles can scratch paint. The dust was especially thick in the south of the city, with radio reporting low visibility in those neighborhoods. Authorities said the ash was not a health threat. Disaster prevention officials at Cenapred said the amount of ash that fell on the city was minimal. Mexico's international airport reported little ash had fallen there and remained open, with one flight delayed for 15 minutes and another landing at a different airport. 
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Soputan Volcano (Indonesia)
1.11 N, 124.73 E, summit elevation 1784 m, stratovolcano
Saturday 19th July 2003
Soputan Volcano erupted Friday in Eastern Indonesia, spewing lava and clouds of dust high into the air. Dust and ash from the volcano had fallen on the provincial capital Manado, around 40 kilometers (25 miles) north of the mountain. A slow-moving lava flow was also visible at the rim of the peak. Soputan, around 2,160 kilometers northeast of Jakarta, last erupted in 2000.
More on Soputan Volcano...

Soufriere Hills Volcano (Montserrat)
16.72 N, 62.18 W, summit elevation 915 m, stratovolcano
Wednesday 16th July 2003
Montserrat's governor declared the Caribbean island a disaster zone Tuesday, days after a volcanic eruption spewed clouds of rock and ash. Workers used bulldozers Tuesday to clear roads caked with ash that had hardened to a cement-like state following rains. Residents used shovels and pickaxes to clear their stairs and roofs. Volcanic flows of superheated debris and rock rolled about 3 miles down the side of the Soufriere Hills volcano. Heavy ash collapsed several buildings in the area of northwestern Salem. The ash was so heavy it broke off tree branches and smothered birds. Minor explosions continued to rumble from the depths of the volcano through Monday, but not enough to cause major ash fallout. There were no reports of serious injury. But Montserrat medical officials have asked international donors for 50,000 dust masks in an effort to prevent respiratory problems among islanders and workers clearing ash. 
More on Soufriere Hills Volcano...

Papua New Guinea Earthquake (Mangitude 6.4)
Wednesday 16th July 2003
A magnitude 6.4 earthquake has hit Papua New Guinea 45 km north of Rabaul Volcano. The earthquake hit on Wednesday, July 16, 2003 at 04:46:37 AM local time. The depth was 33 km.
Volcanoes of Papua New Guinea...

Soufriere Hills Volcano (Montserrat)
16.72 N, 62.18 W, summit elevation 915 m, stratovolcano
Sunday 13th July 2003
Montserrat Volcano Observatory reports an eruption on 12th July at 1955 hr UT producing pyroclastic flows and ash. Volcanic explosions occurred late on Saturday and early on Sunday after high seismic activity. The latest explosion sent ash up to 40,000 feet (12,200 metres). Part of the volcano's dome facing the Tar River Valley collapsed on Saturday night, hurling rocks and mud down unto houses. No injuries were reported as residents near the valley were evacuated last October after warnings of a change in the volcano dome's growth. Roads on the British Caribbean island were covered with two inches of mud and many roofs collapsed. Tree branches also snapped under the weight of ash and rock. Ash from this weekend's volcanic explosions caused large volcanic clouds to drift to neighboring islands. Large airlines canceled flights into nearby St. Maarten, a popular Caribbean tourist destination. After nearly four centuries of dormancy, the Soufriere Hills volcano rumbled back to life in 1995, killing 19 people and burying the south end of the 39-square-mile (100-sq-km) island in ash and burning rock. Many residents fled to Britain, the United States or neighboring islands, reducing the population from 11,000 to about 5,000. In the past few years the volcano has calmed, but the dome continues to grow and collapse, sending rivers of superheated rock, ash and gases down its flanks.
More on Soufriere Hills Volcano...

Mauna Kea Volcano (Hawaii)
19.82 N, 155.47 W, summit elevation 4206 m, Shield volcano
Saturday 12th July 2003
A magnitude 3.4 earthquake has occurred under Mauna Kea Volcano on Hawaii. The earthquake hit on 10th July at 1600 hr (UT). The earthquake was located 7 miles east of the summit on the Hilo side of the mountain at a depth of 26km. Mauna Kea, the highest mountain in the Pacific, is a dormant volcano. Its summit houses some of the world's best telescopes.
More on Mauna Kea Volcano...

Aso Volcano (Japan)
32.88 N, 131.10 E, summit elevation 1592 m, caldera
Saturday 12th July 2003
A small phreatic eruption occurred at Aso Volcano on 11th July. Thickness of tephra deposit consisting of wet ash aggregates is around 1 mm even at the crater rim. Spray of mud was blown off by strong wind as much as 10 km from the crater. Lake surface color of the first crater turned into dark gray from green of two days ago, probably due stirring by the eruption. Sound of the eruption was recorded with a microphone of crater live-camera monitored by the Aso Volcano Museum. This is the first eruption of Aso in 9 years. Aso is one of Japan's most active volcanoes. 
More on Aso Volcano...

Mt Hood Volcano ( USA)
45.37 N, 121.69 W, summit elevation 3426 m, stratovolcano
Wednesday 9th July 2003
A magnitude three-point-three earthquake rolled across Mount Hood early monday morning Local time), followed by a few small aftershocks. It caused no damage and raised no big concerns for geologists monitoring the long-dormant volcano. Geologists traced its epicenter to about four miles southeast of Mount Hood and about four miles underground. The earthquake was the first on the mountain since a sharp jolt surprised geologists last summer. Scientists do not believe that the earthquake means Mt Hood is rumbling back to volcanic activity. Mount Hood registers several faint earthquake swarms each year, according to the state geology department. 
More on Mt Hood Volcano...

Soufriere Hills Volcano (Montserrat)
16.72 N, 62.18 W, summit elevation 915 m, stratovolcano
Monday 7th July 2003
The hurricane season could spark a disaster by toppling the lava dome and unleashing a torrent of ash and lava on nearby communities. Montserrat officials have already begun evacuating some residents near the active Soufriere Hills volcano and are setting up food and shelter areas. Weather experts are predicting the Caribbean will see a busier than average hurricane season, which officially began on June 1 and ends on November 30. The volcano's lava dome last collapsed in 1997, killing 19 people. Strong gusts and rain could cause the dome to cave in again, showering surrounding areas with pyroclastic flows. The volcano began erupting in 1995, covering the island's southern half with rock and ash, destroying the old airport and capital, Plymouth, and forcing more than half of the population to flee.
Volcano update (27th June to 4th July): The seismograph network recorded 193 rockfall signals, 61 long-period rockfalls, 7 long-period earthquakes and 37 hybrid earthquakes. Pyroclastic flow and rockfall activity has been mainly focused on the northern flanks of the dome. Most of the flows have occurred in Tuitt's Ghaut, and to a lesser extent Tyre's Ghaut and White's Ghaut. Sporadic flows have also occurred on the western side of the dome in the Gages area. Access to all areas south of the Belham Valley, to Waterworks, Happy Hill, Lower Friths and Old Towne, and to Bramble airport and beyond is prohibited. There is a maritime exclusion zone around the southern part of the island that extends two nautical miles beyond the coastline from Trant's Bay in the east to Lime Kiln Bay on the west coast.
More on Soufriere Hills Volcano...

Tungurahua Volcano (Ecuador)
1.467 S, 78.442 W, summit elevation 5023 m, stratovolcano
Sunday 6th July 2003
16 000 people have been aversely affected by the ongoing eruption of Tungurahua volcano in Ecuador's central Andean region. The 5 023 metre volcano 135 kilometres south of Quito, one of Ecuador's most active, entered a new phase of high activity June 5. Volcanic ash is making a big impact not only on health, but also in the economy, resulting a loss of crops and domestic animals. 
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Beerenberg Volcano (Jan Mayen)
71.08  N,  8.17  W, summit elevation 2277 m, Stratovolcano
Saturday 5th July 2003
Unconfirmed reports have been received about an eruption of Beerenberg Volcano on Jan Mayen. Reports indicated that an eruption took place on 4th July at 1120 hr (UT). An ash plume reached 5000 ft and moved SW from the island. The initial report came from NOAA-AVHRR images. Jan Mayen is an island between the Greenland Sea and the Norwegian Sea, northeast of Iceland. The volcano last erupted in 1985.
Later information from Icelandic met office stated they have no reports of an eruption.
More on Jan Mayen Volcano...

Mt Etna Volcano (Italy)
37.73 N, 15.00 E, summit elevation  3350 m, Shield volcano
Wednesday 2nd July 2003
There are signs that the central conduit system of Mt Etna volcano is recharging, and movement of the unstable eastern flank of the mountain is continuing. A series of small shallow earthquakes occurred on 26 June on the eastern flank of Etna, near the village of Fornazzo. This area lies in a sector of the volcano that is known to be unstable and slowly sliding eastward. Accelerated slippage of the flank started a few weeks before the 2002-2003 eruption and culminated during the early days of that eruption, with up to 2 m of displacement in the Piano Provenzana area.
More on Mt Etna Volcano...

Anatahan Volcano (Mariana Islands)
16.35 N, 145.67 E, summit elevation 788 m, Stratovolcano
Wednesday 2nd July 2003
Scientific researchers believe that the continuing volcanic activity on Anatahan could just be the initial phase of a much bigger eruption that potentially threatens inhabitants of Saipan and Tinian. The danger is that if the present eruption is felsic, there is more threat to the inhabitants of nearby Saipan and Tinian. The volcano continues to emit ash and gas to an altitude of 8,000 feet.
More on Anatahan Volcano...

Popocatepetl Volcano (Mexico)
19.023 N, 98.622 W, summit elevation 5426 m, stratovolcano
Wednesday 2nd July 2003
A loud explosion from the Popocatepetl volcano alarmed nearby communities and probably sent ash and lava into the air. The explosion of moderate intensity occurred at 12.16 pm local time on Tuesday. Cloud cover prevented a view of the eruption but the two-minute event probably threw out incandescent fragments near the crater, accompanied by an emission of ash. Officials had not ordered any evacuations, but said people should stay away from the zone around the crater.
More on Popocatepetl Volcano...