Archived Volcano News - John Seach
December 2003


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

Iran Earthquake Update
Wednesday 31st December 2003
The death toll for Friday's earthquake in southeastern Iran may rise as high as 50,000, which makes it one of the most devastating disasters in recent years. So far 28,000 bodies have been recovered. Eighty percent of Bam's mud-brick buildings had been flattened. The humanitarian focus has changed from a situation of search and rescue, emergency medical intervention and evacuation, to a situation of relief assistance.
Volcanoes of Iran...

Loyalty Island Region Earthquakes (New Caledonia)
Wednesday 31st December 2003
A series of large and major earthquakes have hit the Loyalty Islands region in New Caledonia. 

Friday, December 26, 2003 at 07:42:33 AM local time at epicenter (Mag 6.5, location 22.29S 169.49E, depth 10.0 km).

Friday, December 26, 2003 at 10:09:43 AM local time at epicenter (Mag 6.0, location 22.42S 169.54E, depth 10.0 km).

Friday, December 26, 2003 at 10:13:21 AM local time at epicenter (Mag 5.3, location 22.41S 169.57E, depth 10.0 km).

Saturday, December 27, 2003 at 08:26:03 AM local time at epicenter (Mag 6.8, location 22.32S 169.29E, depth 10.0 km).

Saturday, December 27, 2003 at 09:56:13 AM local time at epicenter (Mag 5.2, location 22.31S 169.60E, depth 10.0 km).

Saturday, December 27, 2003 at 03:55:25 PM local time at epicenter (Mag 6.1, location 22.17S 169.32E, depth 10.0 km).

Sunday, December 28, 2003 at 3:01:00 AM local time at epicenter (Mag 7.3, location 22.01S 169.61E, depth 10.0 km).

Sunday, December 28, 2003 at 09:38:01 AM local time at epicenter (Mag 6.7, location 21.82S 169.70E, depth 10.0 km).

Sunday, December 28, 2003 at 09:55:01 AM local time at epicenter (Mag 6.3, location 21.75S 169.75E, depth 10.0 km).

Sunday, December 28, 2003 at 04:15:26 PM local time at epicenter (Mag 5.3, location, 22.06S 170.05E, depth 10.0 km).

Monday, December 29, 2003 at 10:48:42 PM local time at epicenter (Mag 5.7, location 22.57S 169.65E, depth 10.0 km).

The earthquakes are located along the subduction zone of the New Hebrides Island Arc. This is one of the most seismically and volcanically active regions on earth. Earthquakes of this magnitude are able to cause an increase in volcanic activity. The nearest active volcanoes are in Vanuatu (Matthew, Hunter, and Yasur).
A tsunami was generated by the magnitude 7.3 earthquake. Port Vila recorded 0.15m waves with a period of 18 minutes. The tsunami may have been destructive along coasts near the earthquake epicenter. There was no threat to other areas in the Pacific.
Volcanoes of Vanuatu...

Iran Earthquake (Magnitude 6.6)
Sunday 28th December 2003
On 26 December 2003, at 01:57 hrs UT (05:27 hrs local time), an earthquake struck the city of Bam, Kerman Province in southeastern Iran. The magnitude is estimated at 6.6 on the Richer scale and a depth of 10 km. The earthquake devastated the city of Bam with a 80,000 population and severely damaged surrounding villages. The death toll has not been announced officially but the media report that it could be more than 20,000. 
Volcanoes of Iran...

California Earthquake (Magnitude 6.5)
Tuesday 23rd December 2003
A large earthquake hit California at 19:15:56 UTC (11:16 am local time) on Monday, December 22, 2003. It was centred north of the coastal town of Cambria. Cambria is in San Luis Obispo County, about 300 kilometres northwest of Los Angeles. The county has a population of around 250,000. Two people have been reported killed.
Volcanoes of California...

Nyamuragira Volcano (Democratic Republic of Congo)
1.408 S, 29.20 E, summit elevation 3058 m, shield volcano
Thursday 18th December 2003
Over the past few weeks there has been increasing seismic activity at Nyamuragira Volcano, indicating an eruption is possible within a few weeks. Nyamuragira is one of the most active volcanoes in Africa.
More on Nyamuragira Volcano...

Nyiragongo Volcano (Democratic Republic of Congo)
1.52 S, 29.25 E, summit elevation 3469 m, stratovolcano
Sunday 14th December 2003
Scientists studying Nyiragongo Volcano warn that magma has shifted south towards the city of Goma through a series of underground fissures. When the volcano erupts again is could send lava rushing through the streets trapping residents. An even worse event could happen if the eruption occurs under Lake Kivu, releasing huge quantities of lethal methane and carbon dioxide. 4.5 million people live on the banks of Lake Kivu. Nyiragongo volcano erupted in January 2002 forcing the evacuation of half a million residents. This was the largest volcano evacuation in history. Since the 2002 eruption there have been seismometers placed on the volcano to monitor the situation.
More on Nyiragongo Volcano...

Stromboli Volcano (Italy)
38.79 N, 15.21 E, summit elevation 926 m, stratovolcano
Thursday 11th December 2003
An ash plume was visible at Stromboli volcano on 10th December before 0530 hr (UT). Ash was ejected to a height of 3500 ft. Stromboli Volcano has resumed its normal "Strombolian" eruptions after the December 2002 landslides.
More on Stromboli volcano...

Taiwan Earthquake (Magnitude 6.8)
Thursday 11th December 2003
A large earthquake hit Taiwan on Wednesday December 10th at 12:38:14 hr (UT). The earthquake was located at 23.058°N, 121.379°E at a depth of 33 km (21 miles). The earthquake caused landslides and damage to roads and bridges in Taitung County. Its epicenter was located in the county's northern Chengkung Township. The 508m-high Taipei 101, the world's tallest building, swayed in the quake but no damage was reported. Two aftershocks measuring 5.1 and 5.0 on the Richter scale, as well as some 120 other minor or imperceptible aftershocks followed. The Taiwan stock exchange fell by 1.5 percent following the earthquake.
Volcanoes of Taiwan...

Piton de la Fournaise Volcano (Reunion)
21.22 S, 55.71 E, summit elevation 2631 m, shield volcano
Wednesday 10th December 2003
The eruption of Sunday 7th December continues. Degassing is occurring at Dolomieu crater. The seismic crisis started on 6th December, and was followed by an eruption at 1535 hr on Sunday 7th. The event was not observed due to poor weather. Location of the lava flow has not yet been determined.
More on Piton de la Fournaise Volcano...

Koryaksky Volcano (Russia)
53.32 N, 158.68 E, summit elevation 3456 m, stratovolcano
Saturday 6th December 2003
The increase in the seismic activity of the Koryaksky Volcano was registered in Kamchatka (Russia's Far East). For the first time in many years a 3.6-strong earthquake was registered yesterday in the volcano crater. Within the next 2 hours a series of 6-km deep tremors was registered. An active cyclone at the peninsula obstructs visual observations. The last eruption of the Koryaksky volcano situated 30 km from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky was registered in 1956, when a slit on the northwestern slope of the volcano opened and the volcano erupted gas and ash. The eruption was weak and continued until March of 1957. 
More on Koryaksky Volcano...

Karymsky Volcano (Russia)
54.05 N, 159.43 E, summit elevation 1486 m, stratovolcano
Saturday 6th December 2003
Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre has reported an eruption of Karymsky Volcano on 4th December at 1945 hr (UT). 
More on Karymsky Volcano...

Tungurahua Volcano (Ecuador)
1.467 S, 78.442 W, summit elevation 5023 m, stratovolcano
Thursday 4th December 2003
At night it was possible to see incandescence and blocks rolling up to 400 m down NW flank of the volcano. Wednesday an ash column was observed reaching 2 km of height, drifting towards the NNE.
Seismicity on Wednesday 3rd December: 23 events of long period and 1 large explosion have been recorded. Since the end of November, the volcano has shown significant level of seismic activity.
More on Tungurahua Volcano...