Eruption Update for March 4, 2013: White Island, Etna, Fuego

Rocky Planet iconRocky Planet
By Erik Klemetti
Mar 4, 2013 10:28 PMNov 20, 2019 1:36 AM


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A recent view of the the crater at New Zealand's White Island. Image: GNS Science/GeoNet. Some updates of volcanic activity around the world: White Island, New Zealand After a brief period of heightened activity that included some ash emissions, the rumblings at New Zealand's White Island have settled down some over the weekend. The ash emissions have ceased according to the latest report from GNS Science -- however, new observations show that a small tephra cone was built within the crater during last week's events (but the spiny dome remains!). The report notes that activity is likely going to vary depending on the weather, so when it is wet, the activity may mainly be phreatic explosions and when it is dry, the ash plumes such as what occurred last week will be the mode of eruption. With a contemporaneous decrease in seismic activity and no increase in sulfur dioxide or carbon dioxide emissions, GNS Science lowered the alert status to one and aviation status to Yellow. The New Zealand Herald has an interesting piece on White Island, noting that the island in the Bay of Plenty was once mined for its copious sulfur deposits. Etna, Italy At this point, I've even lost track of all the activity at Sicily's Etna. The latest update from the Osservatorio Etneo sums up a busy which say multiple lava fountain episodes and the reactivation of the Voragine crate that hasn't seen eruptive activity since 1999. In total, Etna erupted from three different craters in the last week -- Voragine, Bucco Nuovo and the new Southeast Crater. Most of the activity from the summit Bucco Nuovo and Voragine craters has been smaller strombolian explosions with short lava flows. This contrasts with the vigorous lava flows (that took out a seismic station) and impressive lava fountains from the new Southeast Crater on the flank of the volcano. This recent activity at Etna has definitely been some of the most surprising we've seen from Etna in at least a decade. Be sure to check out the great gallery of video for the activity on February 28 put together by Stromboli Online or the gallery of images of the same activity by VolcanoDiscovery. Fuego, Guatemala Activity at Guatemala's Fuego has also increased over the last week. Multiple lava flows stretch over a kilometer from the summit crater and small ash explosions have occurred as well. You can check out some video of the lava fountains (thanks to Jonathan Stone for the link) that the volcano produced earlier today -- blocks get thrown downslope and are still glowing red as they tumble. INSIVUMEH has kept Fuego on Yellow alert status but doesn't think the current activity poses a special risk to people living near the volcano. They did mention that this strombolian activity could lead to pyroclastic flows that will effect areas within a few kilometers of the summit.

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