Archived Volcano News - John Seach
March 2004


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

Ambrym Volcano (Vanuatu)
16.25 S, 168.12 E, summit elevation 1334 m, Pyroclastic Shield Volcano
Friday 26th March, 2004
The people of Craig Cove in west Ambrym are suffering from the effects of the ongoing volcanic eruption on the island. Gas and acid rainfall from the active vents on the volcano are threatening to destroy the local food gardens. Ambrym Island is still recovering the effects of cyclone Ivy, which caused widespread damage two weeks ago. The island's leaders have appealed to the national and local authorities for emergency relief assistance.
More on Ambrym Volcano...
Volcanoes of Vanuatu...

Volcanic Activity on Io (Jupiter's Moon)
Tuesday 23rd March, 2004
A Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in Houston in March 2004 has discussed volcanic activity on Io, one of the moons of Jupiter. Io is interesting because it has produced the largest volcanic eruption, and contains the most powerful volcano in the universe.
Loki is the most powerful volcano in the solar system. It is located on Io, one of the moons of Juipter. It has been observed to be in continuous eruption since 1979. During intense periods of activity Loki volcano erupts 1,000 square meters of lava every second. Data on the eruptions were obtained by the Galileo spacecraft, which orbited Jupiter for 14 years, finally disintegrating in Jupiter's atmosphere in 2003. 
Routine monitoring of volcanic activity on Jupiter's moon Io, now possible through advanced adaptive optics on the Keck II telescope in Hawaii. In February 2001, the telescope observed the largest eruption ever observed in the solar system. The 2001 Io eruption was very close to Surt, the site of a large eruption in 1979 that took place between the Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 flybys. The surt volcano eruption covered an area of 1,900 square kilometers, which is larger than the entire area of Mt Etna volcano in Italy. The volcanoes on Io will continue to be monitored by earth-based telescopes.
More on volcanoes of Io...

Sheveluch Volcano (Russia)
56.653 N, 161.360 E, summit elevation 3283 m, stratovolcano
Sunday 21st March, 2004
Sheveluch volcano continues its eruption, and is now emitting large quantities of ash from the crater. The most powerful emission in the latest 24 hours sent ash to the height of 4,500 meters. The emissions were accompanied by continual surface earthquakes and debris avalanches. At the moment the volcano poses no threat for local towns and villages. However, the mudslides coming down the volcano's slopes may disrupt traffic on the peninsula's roads. The ash emitting from the volcano's crater pose a serious threat for aviation as particles of volcanic ash, when sucked into aircraft engines, may result in a malfunction.
More on Sheveluch Volcano...

Sheveluch Volcano (Russia)
56.653 N, 161.360 E, summit elevation 3283 m, stratovolcano
Thursday 18th March, 2004
The crater of  Sheveluch volcano, which is the northernmost active Kamchatka volcano, started spewing ash to a height of 2.5 km, reports the Kamchatka experimental-methodological seismological group. The March 16 volcanic-ash eruptions were accompanied by long-duration surface earthquakes and avalanches. Ash clouds stretched for 75 km east of the volcano. Seismic stations continue to register sporadic volcanic tremors in the active-dome area. The volcano doesn't threaten nearby populated areas; however, its activity can cause mud flows. Such mud flows have repeatedly eroded a local road in the past. Ash clouds and emissions threaten aircraft because volcanic-ash particles can damage aircraft engines.
More on Sheveluch Volcano...

White Island Volcano (New Zealand)
37.52 S, 177.78 E, summit elevation 321 m, stratovolcanoes
Tuesday 16th March, 2004
Last week the temperature of the crater lake at White Island Volcano was 53deg C, and the lake has risen to 15.4 m below the crater rim. This is the largest lake to have formed within this crater and has recently drowned the active vents. The current lake volume is large enough that it will influence the next phase of eruptive activity from the volcano, and result in a new hazard to people visiting the island. This would occur along with the already existing hazards caused by rock and ash fall during explosive eruptions. Should there be no significant eruptive activity within the next 18-24 month period and the lake continues to fill, it may reach overflow level. 
More on White Island Volcano...
Volcanoes of New Zealand...

Stromboli Volcano (Italy)
38.79 N, 15.21 E, summit elevation 926 m, stratovolcano
Thursday 11th March, 2004
During the first week of March 2004, Stromboli Volcano continued its normal "Strombolian" eruptions, with frequent summit explosions at the high end of normal activity. Some larger explosions sent scoria to an elevation of 200m above the craters, and produced fallout of fresh bombs and lapilli on Pizzo Sopra la Fossa. During February 2004, explosive activity was high at the three summit craters, and there was significant growth of the cinder cones located in the craters. 
More on Stromboli Volcano...
Volcanoes of Italy...

Mt Ruapehu Volcano (New Zealand)
39.28 S, 175.57 E, summit elevation 2779 m, stratovolcano
Wednesday 10th March, 2004
A lahar is expected to occur at Ruapehu volcano early next year, when the ash dam surrounding the crater's lake collapses. Many lahars have flowed down the side of Mt Ruapehu in the past, including one that claimed 151 lives at Tangiwai in 1953. The New Zealand Goverment has refused to take measures to drain the crater lake, insisting that this may create more risk than leaving it in place. Instead, authorities plan to upgrade lahar warning systems. The risk reduction measures considered by the authorities were: 
1) Building a trench to drain the lake: rejected (too dangerous to build, could increased lahar risk in future).
2) Sluicing the ash dam to trigger the lahar: rejected (even more dangerous, might not work).
3) Siphoning the lake: rejected (technically difficult because of reduced air pressure at altitude).
4) Strengthening Tangiwai road bridge and installing 90-minute warning system: approved.
Draining a volcanic lake to reduce lahar hazard has been successfully achieved at Kelut volcano in Indonesia.
More on Mt Ruapehu volcano...
Volcanoes of New Zealand...

Kilauea Volcano (Hawaii)
19.425 N, 155.292 W, summit elevation 1222 m, Shield volcano
Sunday 7th March, 2004
High level of volcanic activity continues at Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii. On Wednesday 3rd March, the south wall of Pu`u `O`o crater partly collapsed, and fell into the crater. The crater is full of incandescent vents. A 3km long lava flow moved south of Pu`u `O`o crater reached 2150-foot elevation, and there are many areas of lava breakouts. The lava flows are in a remote part of the east rift zone, difficult to reach by foot, but are more easily observed from the air. The current lava flow is the furtherest from the vent since last October.
More on Kilauea Volcano...

Satsuma-Iwo-jima Volcano (Japan)
30.78 N, 130.28 E, summit elevation 717 m, Caldera
Friday 5th March, 2004
Satsuma-Iwo-jima Volcano erupted at 0022 hr (UT) on Friday 5th March. Ash was observed moving north at 5000 ft elevation. Satsuma-Iwojima is a volcano island with the dimension of 6 km east-west and 3 km south-north, which rims the Kikai Caldera. Small ash eruptions have occurred yearly since 1998.
More on Satsuma-Iwo-jima Volcano...
Volcanoes of Japan...

Soufriere Hills Volcano (Montserrat)
16.72 N, 62.18 W, summit elevation 915 m, stratovolcano
Thursday 4th March, 2004
A large eruption of Soufriere Hills volcano occurred on Wednesday 3rd March, at 1850 hr (UT). Twenty-five minutes after the eruption, the ash cloud was 15 NM long and 10 NM wide. A cloud of ash reached 20,000 ft above the volcano. Pyroclastic flows flowed down the eastern flank of the Soufriere Hills volcano after the 3 p.m. explosion (local time). There are no reports of injuries or damage from the eruption. The eruption came more than seven months after a major lava dome collapse July 12, 2003. 
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Kizimen Volcano (Russia)
55.130 N, 160.32  E, summit elevation 2485 m, Stratovolcano
Wednesday 3rd March, 2004
There has been an increase in seismic activity at Kizimen Volcano in Russia's far east. On Monday 1st March, in the vicinity of the volcano, which has remained inactive for many years, four earthquakes of magnitude 1.75-3.75 points were registered. Dense clouds and heavy snowfalls prevented video observation of the volcanic activity. Kizimen volcano is situated in the north of the Kronotsky preserve near the popular Schapinsky thermal springs. The last eruption of the volcano was registered in 1929. 
More on Kizimen Volcano...

Sheveluch Volcano (Russia)
56.653 N, 161.360 E, summit elevation 3283 m, stratovolcano
Monday 1st March, 2004
Two powerful eruptions occurred at Sheveluch volcano on Saturday 28th February, 17 hours apart. The eruptions were accompanied by surface earthquakes lasting about three minutes each. Sheveluch, the northernmost active volcano in Kamchatka (Russian Far East) is ejecting ash clouds to the height of 2.5 kilometers. Adverse weather conditions hinder observation of the volcano, yet the seismologists believe that the eruptions have caused massive avalanches of debris. The seismological stations located in the area keep registering continuous volcanic tremors as well as weak but extensive surface earthquakes. At present, the volcano poses no threat to local residents. At the same time, the eruptions threaten to disrupt traffic on the peninsula's roads. In the past, mudflows sliding down the giant volcano's slopes repeatedly washed out the Klyuchi - Ust-Kamchatsk motor road. Catastrophic eruptions take place at Shiveluch every 100-300 years.
More on Sheveluch volcano...