Nishinoshima Eruption-New Island Formed

Continuing Eruption at Nishinoshima Joins Two Islands

The eruption of Nishinoshima with the new island joining with the original Nishinoshima island, seen on December 26, 2013. Image: Japan Coast Guard

Quick volcano news update from Japan! The eruption at Nishinoshima continues and now the new island is no more … because it has joined up with the actual island of Nishinoshima (see above). This is a great example of how volcanic island like this in the Bonin Islands grow over hundreds to thousands of eruptions. Compare these two NASA Earth Observatory images to see how the island has grown between December 8 to December 24. The Japan Coast Guard has also posted a map (see below) that shows how the shape of the coastline for the new island has changed across the course of the eruption — and it is dramatic how quickly the island has grown, especially between December 13 and 24. Some video taken from a helicopter flight above the volcano shows the new island and its continued eruption (with discolored water surrounding it) and a very active spatter cone producing the lava flows.

2012 Volcano Report fr/Erik Klemetti

2012 Volcanic Year in Review

The submarine eruption at El Hierro continued into 2011. Image: INVOLCAN

2012, for all the hype about apocalypse, was a volcanically-quiet year. No Eyjafjallajökulls, no Puyehue-Cordon Caulles, no Pinatubos. Sure, we had some notable eruptions, but most were small-to-moderate events that, many times, won’t even end up getting preserved in the geologic record. However, that didn’t stop me from posting way too much! No, really, it was still a great year for Eruptions, with decidedly more posts about the science of volcanoes when the actual volcanic events were low. Here is the 2012 Volcanic Year in Review!



The start of the year got us starting to wonder about potential eruptions that might follow — including heightened alert at Lascar (that didn’t lead anywhere) and increasing activity at Popocatépetl (that sort of led somewhere). We also saw some of the last gasps of the submarine eruption at El Hierro in the Canary Islands, but as you’ll see, it hasn’t stopped the island from rumbling.

However, the media was caldera crazy to start 2012. Maybe it was just the tip of the Maya iceberg, but the Daily Mail opened January with a terrible article about the supposed immediate threat that Laacher See posed to Europe. The newspaper had to rescind the article come February. I dissected some of the conspiracy theories surrounding Yellowstone and we had some rumblings of two active caldera systems: Santorini and Long Valley.

I also tackled your questions about my 2011 post on falling into lava, I put together a gallery of images related to some of the many volcano observatories around the world and looked that the supposed danger (and younger age) of Ubehebe Crater in California.


Probably the biggest show in February was the fire fountains and lava flows from Etna during one of its many paroxysms of 2012. Not only are Etna’s eruptions spectacular, but they occur in a highly populated area – unlike the periodic dome growth and explosions that occur at Alaska’s remote Cleveland volcano or Pagan in the Mariana Islands. These volcanoes require satellites to watch them carefully to see activity when there is no one on the ground to notice it happening. Two volcanoes had small eruptions that looked like they could be leading to larger events, but neither Kanaga nor Rincón de la Vieja had much to show for 2012 when all was said and done.

After feeling a little jaded about all the “bad journalism” posts I had to tackle, I decided instead to look at why I love volcanoes (much more satisfying). February also brought some great vistas from above, including a shot of the island of Java and a multitude of volcanoes from space. I tried to explain how bubbles in magma lead to explosive eruptions and Dr. Shan de Silva answered your questions about Andean calderas.

I also tackled a topic that came up repeatedly during the year – the missing eruptions in the ice cap record. Namely, the ice cores suggest a large eruption in 1258 AD, but no source has been definitively identified (although inroads have been made). Another mysterious caldera eruption, the Kuwae caldera eruption in the 1450s, was also examined about whether it actually occurred.


Etna kept up its pace with another paroxysm to start the month, but for me, the real news was the unrest at Colombia’s Nevado del Ruiz. By the end of March, INGEOMINAS was expecting an eruption of the volcano near my mother’s hometown in “days to weeks.” Iliamna in Alaska also began to show unrest, with elevated seismicity that has persisted throughout the year.

One of the perks of my job at Denison is the field trips — and 2012 was no exception as I got to take students through some of the volcanic landforms of the Owens Valley in California, including Coso and the Long Valley caldera. I also looked at how hurricanes might influence volcanic eruptions after some research on Pinatubo and other subtropical/tropical volcanoes. March also saw the 30th anniversary of the eruption of El Chichón in Mexico – I looked back on the event and what might be in store at the volcano.

A March 23 image of Askja in Iceland, whose crater lake melted earlier than expected. Image: NASA.


Another month, another paroxysm at Etna. What we didn’t know then is that after April, activity at Etna would drop significantly. We had a little mystery in Iceland, where the crater lake at Askja was unexpectedly ice free months ahead of usual. Meanwhile, Nevado del Ruiz continued to rumble in Colombia. However, the most eyes were trained on Mexico’s Popocatépetl, where continued small explosions and seismicity prompted increased worry that a major eruption was brewing. However, as much as the volcano rumbled, nothing big came during 2012.

I tried to answer a question I get frequently: can humans trigger a volcanic eruption (short answer: maybe, but it would be hard and pointless). I also took on the quacks who try to sell bogus earthquake/eruption predictions (with some amusing backlash in the comments). I offered up a challenge to the earthquake prediction crowd, include the quackiest of the bunch, Piers Corbyn, but no one took me up on it.


Fuego in Guatemala was the headliner for May, producing its largest eruption in years. We also had ash from Nevado del Ruiz fall on cities close to the volcano like Manizales and Pereira. Other eruptions were so remote that only satellites caught the action, like the plume from Curry in the South Sandwich Islands.

Without a lot of other volcanic news during May, I looked at a pile of volcanic research, including the timing of caldera-forming eruptions at Yellowstone, volcanic lightning, the fate of all that volcanic ash, what to expect from the Baekdu Caldera in China/North Korea and how crystals can unravel the subvolcanic magmatism at active volcanoes.


Both Popocatépetl and Nevado del Ruiz kept on producing small eruptions as we headed into June, while Cleveland in Alaska had a explosive eruption, likely due to collapse of the dome that had been growing in the crater since earlier in the spring. We also saw the alert status raised at El Hierro in the Canary Islands for the first time in months after an intense seismic swarm occurred — but this swarm didn’t lead to any new eruption.

June marked the 100th anniversary of the largest explosive eruption of the 20th century – the famed Novarupta/Katmai eruption that produced the Valley of 10,000 Smokes. It was also the 1st anniversary of another significant eruption, the Puyehue-Cordón Caulle eruption in Chile/Argentina. Speaking of volcanically-active area, I decided to take a look at volcanism on Io and just how hot the surface of Jupiter’s inner moon might be.


July wasn’t too eventful on the volcanic front — but it definitely kept me on my toes after the 2012 Derecho knocked power out in Granville for 10 days. However, in volcano news, we began to get signs that Tongariro in New Zealand might be up to somethingseismic activity began to rise and volcanic gas emissions followed suit. Sakurajima, a fan favorite, also produced some of its larger explosions in the past few years.

I spent a lot of July on the road, mostly out in California doing labwork with my research student — but I did get to check out the Clear Lake area and saw some of California’s volcanic features from 30,000 feet. I also tackled why the volcanic rumblings in Colombia likely reflect more monitoring rather than more activity and how artificial volcanoes aren’t the cure-all for global warming.

A weather satellite image of the eruption plume from Tongariro in New Zealand. Image: NASA/NOAA/CIMSS


By the time August rolled in, it was becoming clear that 2012 was lining up to be a volcanically-quiet year (no matter what conspiracy fans tried to deny it). However, if you were in New Zealand in August, you wouldn’t have thought it was that quiet. Mere hours after I posted about the potential dangers of visiting White Island as a tourist, Tongariro had its first eruption on its main edifice in over 110 years. It turned out to be a minor, mostly steam-driven eruption. White Island also had a small explosive event to go with Tongariro’s … but that’s not all! A pumice raft was discovered in the Kermadec Islands north of New Zealand and eventually tracked back to a mid-July submarine eruption at the hitherto unrecognized seamount Havre. Sonar surveys later in the fall confirmed it as the source of the pumice raft as a new cone was imaged and all the pumice is still floating out in the western Pacific.

In other parts of the world, the Grozny Group in the Kuril Islands had a small explosive eruption while a small tephra cone was seen growing in the Buoco Nuovo crater at Etna.


Over the course of the fall, Nicaragua’s San Cristobal experienced eruptions large enough to prompt evacuations of people living near the volcano. Little Sitkin joined the parade of Alaskan volcanoes that showed signs of unrest, as a seismic swarm was noted at the remote volcano. We also saw ash from Anak Krakatau spread as far as 80 km from the island volcano — and I looked at how many people are displaced by volcanic activity in Indonesia. The future of Yellowstone caldera was the subject of a special paper in GSA Today (and guess what? It isn’t “end times”.)

In guest post at Lookout Landing, a blog about the Seattle Mariners, I discussed the potential volcanic threat Rainier poses to the Seattle/Tacoma area. I also took on the DOOOOOM that permeates media reports on volcano research — and lead me to write “A Media Guide to Volcanoes“.


I started October with one of my favorite satellite images of 2012 — a look down at the Three Sisters region in Oregon. In active volcanic events, the lava lake at the Halema’uma’u Crater on Kilauea reached a new high, while a new lava lake might have been spotted at the remote Indian Ocean volcano, Heard Island. We also saw a phreatic explosion at Poás in Costa Rica.

I talked about the great GSA Field Forum in the Sierra Nevada that I attended over at the GSA Speaking of Geoscience blog. My experiments with R produced a list of the most active volcanoes (in terms of >VEI 5 eruptions) during the last 10,000 years. I also looked at how to discuss models versus observations in science research and some fearmongering in the media over Salton Buttes and Newberry caldera. We also saw the unfortunate verdict of the l’Aquila trial in Italy, a verdict that could have ramifications in hazard monitoring for years.

The fissure vents from the late November eruption of Tolbachik. Image: KVERT.


November was the host to a number of eruptions, most prominently the second explosion of 2012 at New Zealand’s Tongariro. This came very soon after an alert from GNS Science about elevated temperatures at Ruapehu, Tongariro’s neighbor (and in all likelihood, a complete coincident). Volcanoes in Indonesia were as busy as ever while Santa Maria in Guatemala had some of its most vigorous activity in a while. A small plume was also spotted at Chirpoi in the Kuril Islands. However, the big action of November was just to the north of Chirpoi, on the Kamchatka Peninsula. In late November, Tolbachik, part of a complex of volcanoes that includes Bezymianny and Kliuchevskoi, had its first eruption in 36 years. It was an impressive fissure eruption that had produced lava flows that travels 10s of kilometers down the slopes of the volcano.

With all the excitement of the US Presidential election in early November, I looked at the perception of probability versus prognostication when it comes to volcanic mitigation. If you’re looking for a volcano movie to watch, I finally wrote up my guide to volcanic cinema and I described what a SHRIMP-RG is and how I use it in my research.


As 2012 drew to a close, we were greeted by the media frenzy about the supposed December 21 “Maya Apocalypse” and considering that you’re reading this, it is safe to say that the end of the world was not 12/21/12. The Tolbachik eruption went strong for much of the month, with some gorgeous lava flows that showed off all the textbook features we look for in these volcanic events. New Zealand’s White Island produced something that hasn’t been in any textbook: an odd looking spiky spine/dome in the central crater. We also got an impressive eruption from Ecuador’s Tungurahua and some evidence that active volcanism might be occurring on Venus. However, just as the year was coming to a close, Copahue on the Chile/Argentina surprised us with an unexpected eruption, sending a plume across southern South America. I closed out the year talking about why rocks melt on Earth — a useful thing to know if you’re into volcanoes!

So, there you have it. The Volcanic Year in Review … and hopefully 2013 will bring us more volcanic excitement.


Erik Klemetti

Erik Klemetti is an assistant professor of Geosciences at Denison University. His passion in geology is volcanoes, and he has studied them all over the world. You can follow Erik on Twitter, where you’ll get volcano news and the occasional baseball comment.


Mexico’s Popocatepeti Volcano Rumbling

Alert Status Raised at Mexico’s Popocatépetl


Three webcam views of Popocatépetl as seen on April 16, 2012. Images courtesy of Eruptions reader Kirby.


mentioned yesterday that Mexico’s famous Popocatépetl experienced one of its largest explosions in years, covering some 30 communities with ash up to 7 cm thick (but highly dependent on wind direction, so that value has a wide range from dusting to the maximum 7 cm). Combine that with continued elevated seismicity and a healthy steam-and-ash plume from the volcano (see above), and CENAPRED has raised the alert status at Popo to Yellow Phase 3, the third highest threat level (of 7). Overnight on April 16th, the volcano was throwing incandescent material over 300 meter above the crater and it has produced at least 14 small steam-and-ash plumes over the last day or so, some reaching as high as ~1 km / ~3,200 feet. The raised alert level means that local authorities are preparing for potential evacuations if the volcano has a major eruption – the last time major evacuations were needed, in 2000, over 50,000 people had to leave their homes. An eruption will also likely cause significant air traffic issues in/around Mexico City, so authorities need to be prepared for this as well.

The major hazards from Popo are going to be ash fall on the area around the volcano, lahars generated by mixing water and volcanic debris (Popo does have several summit glaciers) and even the potential for pyroclastic flows, although they have been relatively rare in the recent (last few hundred years) at Popocatepetl. You can get a sense of the area that could be effected by a new eruption of Popo fromthis map prepared by volcanologists at University of Buffalo.

When conditions are good, you can get a view of Popocatépetl from webcams near the volcano, so keep your eyes open for continued activity.


El Hierro Update

El Hierro Volcano : Yellow-Red alert – at least 300 SLS in 2 hours time

Last update: January 28, 2012 at 3:01 pm by By 

Update 28/01 – 14:59 UTC
– Julio del Castillo Vivero Time lapse from the volcano activity from 07:20 until 13:00 today, including the Salvamar Adhara lava balloon fishing.

Update 28/01 – 12:36 UTC
– Joke was very busy taking pictures this morning. This is a selection from the many she has taken. These images are so big that a simple cutout can give the detail as can be seen below. Click on one of the 2 images to see the full series.

Update 28/01 – 11:32 UTC
– A lot of SLS this morning
– NO earthquakes since midnight UTC
– Harmonic tremor had a hard time surviving at 02:00 but picked up at 07:01 and remains minimally active until now.
– Salvamar Adhara is out fishing lava balloons. Some stones seem to be really big today. Look at the size of the black stones in the water in relation to the size of the Salvamar Adhara.
– Joke just reported that in 2 hours time (from 08:00 until 10:00) she has seen more than 300 SLS. She also pointed out that the lava baloons are surfacing further to Tenerife (to the left) than ever before. We think this is normal as it was described in the lava balloon document we have published a few weeks ago. Some SLS are only starting to float during the rolling down process from the vent to the base of the volcano. The reason was not explained, but it might be the breaking apart during the rolling process of a  heavier part enabling gas inside to start the floating process.

Salvamar Adhara and smoking Lava stones – fishing stones close to the action – Image captured by ER reader Penny

Update 27/01 – 13:59 UTC
– 12 earthquakes today, even more than in the beginning of January.
– as so many among you reported, a few strong smoking spectacular lava balloons today.
– Harmonic tremor strated to be more active again from 14:27, so any link with the sudden strong LB episode is hard to find.
– Joke and some friends made some great shots of what was going on todayClick here to see them in our Picaweb
– A lot of you must have seen the Salvamar Adhara out in the sea. Joke waited for them when they arrived in the port and has some pictures of the (meager) catch. One Lava Balloon and 2 jellyfish!
– Another regular contributor to is Julio del Castillo Vivero. Julio is recording a lot during the day and starts to look at his recordings if he reads some emotional comments. Here are Julios images captured during the 16:00 action
– I do apolize for not being able to instantly report on events as i am on a holiday with limited time at the PC. Sometimes i am on new developments and sometimes i try to catch up a little later.

Lava Balloon surfacing with a lot of smoke – image captured by Julio del Castillo Vivero

Update 27/01 – 13:59 UTC
The first set of pictures made by Joke this morning. Click here

Update 27/01 – 13:00 UTC
Dr. Elena González Cárdenas, has written an article showing fault lines, different vents and building up a theory as what probably is happening at the seafloor.  What wonders us most is all these new pictures which are shown in this document, pictures which are probably only circulating in a narrow scientific circle. This document reveals much more from what is going on, than weeks of Pevolca communication. Congratulations to Dr. Cardenas and Avcan (the people who have probably asked Dr. Cardenas to write the document).  Click here to read the Spanish document and use Google translate to pick up most of the content. We are sure that people following this eruption a long time will perfectly understand the scenario as written by Dr. Cardenas. Thanks to a number of ER readers + Joke who attracted our attention to this document.

Image courtesy AVCAN and Guardia Civil helicopteres / Involcan

Update 27/01 – 12:22 UTC
– 4 more earthquakes stressing the pressure of the magma beneath the island and creating a new phase of the eruption. Will the current vent remain the only vent, and if not, where will the magma try to find his way up.
27/01/2012    06:57    15    0.7    4     W FRONTERA.IHI
27/01/2012    07:39    9    0.4    4     SW EL PINAR.IHI
27/01/2012    07:55    15    0.5    4     W FRONTERA.IHI
27/01/2012    09:18    12    0.9    4     W EL PINAR.IHI
– The 04:24 earthquake as mentioned by ER reader Ann-Kristin has probably a tectonic origin (based on the graph and as the form is totally different from volcanic earthquakes). It can be triggered though through deformation of the island.
– As for deformation (lateral deformation), no big changes. Values are a little higher yesterday. We are very curious if the many earthquakes from today will not chnage this pattern, as it did in early January.
– The jacuzzi and stain are still surviving. No surprise as a minimal HT is still present on the graph.

Update 27/01 – 07:09 UTC
– 5 earthquakes since midnight
27/01/2012    01:02            12        0.9    SW EL PINAR.IHI
27/01/2012    02:13        13        0.9    SW EL PINAR.IHI
27/01/2012    04:24        13        2.0    W EL PINAR.IHI
27/01/2012    06:27           11        0.4    EL PINAR.IHI
27/01/2012    06:27        11        0.4    W EL PINAR.IHI
– continuing minor harmonic tremor


for more information and updates, go to this well researched and articulate site:

Update on El Hierro Activity

El Hierro Volcano : Yellow-Red alert – the eruption continues at a moderate rate

Last update: December 24, 2011 at 3:13 pm by By 

Update 24/12 – 15:13 UTC
– NO NASA Modis satellite image today as it was too cloudy when the satellite was padding by.
– NO new earthquakes
– continuous harmonic tremor slightly decreasing since 06:00
– The video below is the morning time lapse video from the Telefonica / Cabildo La Restinga village webcam as captured by Julio del Castillo Vivero. The emitting vent and corresponding stain can well be seen from the middle of the morning until the end

Joke Volta early morning pictures

Click on the picture to see all images in full size

Update 24/12 – 09:14 UTC
– NO new earthquakes
– continuous harmonic tremor with a lot of action from 03:30 until 04:00
– a very small stain can be seen on the El Pinar / Ustream and La Restinga village webcams
– Joke reports that the she saw a very vast stain from her starting point at El Pinar this morning. Now she is in La Restinga and says that she sees the source of the stain at the main vent. The emitted material is carried by the current to the west (hard to see on the webcam)
– IEO (Oceonographic Institute of Spain) has reported that they are currently analyzing the bathymetry data(depth measuring of the sea floor) from their latest mission. They have a lot of work to do before a final report can be issued as many irregular measurements have to be eliminated. The emission gases, floating and suspended sediments and water conditions are resulting in false data.

Christmas tree in CAP science center in La Restinga. The tree hangers are images of the main events of the eruption

Update 23/12 – 18:43 UTC
Joke has created a small video from the pictures that she made while traveling with the bus from La Restinga to El Pinar.  Additionally, click here to see the pictures Joke made today.

Update 23/12 – 14:00 UTC / updated 15:43 UTC
Today’s NASA Modis satellite image (from max. a couple of hours ago) shows a very strange picture from the stain and the emission vent. The left white patch is the main vent emission point and small stain. The right white patch at the smallest point of the stain maybe a small remaining cloud patch from the bigger cloud range below it or a new vent (highly unlikely on this location). Click here to see the location of the satellite image.

NASA Modis satellite image of today December 23 – zoomed version (cloud has been blackened)

NASA Modis image without blackened clouds

Update 23/12 – 11:30 UTC
– an active fresh stain visible from La Restinga.
– periods with increased harmonic tremor

image courtesy IGN

La Restinga eruption stain on December 23 – image courtesy Cabildo de El Hierro and Telefonica

Update 23/12 – 08:07 UTC
– 2 new earthquakes since midnight UTC . Both had a magnitude of 1.6 at a depth of respectively 16 and 15 km. The first one happened at 02:16 (epicenter location) and the second at 04:09 (epicenter location)
– variable harmonic tremor
– 25 cruise ships have planned to visit El Hierro next year. The port of La Estaca will be the embarkation port. The average number of passengers will be 300 per ship.
– the company running the Christmas lottery, one of the first lotteries in the world, has decided to pay 60,000 euro as a gift to the people of El Hierro.
– the Terencio supermarket chain did send a food load of 4200 kg to help the Herreños

This information comes from:  For more information and updates, go to:

El Hierro Volcanic Risk

El Hierro (Canary Islands, Spain) : volcanic risk alert increased to “yellow”

Last update: September 25, 2011 at 12:59 am by By 

The Canary Islands government has set the ‘yellow alert’ for the population of El Hierro as a lot of volcanic tremors are continuing to occur below the island since last July.
The ‘yellow alert’ decision bas been after consulting the PEVOLCA, and is based on the conclusions of the meeting of the Scientific Committee. The committee met on Saturday morning in El Hierro. Main reason for the alert increase where the increasing number of volcanic earthquakes as well as deformations (up to 30 mm change from the beginning).
The current ‘yellow alert’  phase does not mean that an eruption is eminent, but that the population will be informed on the risks and will be informed how to take certain protective action.
At this stage the ‘Cabildo de El Hierro’ will be responsible for informing the public of the practical aspects of the action plan including meeting points, shelters and evacuation plans.
The website is
The Canary Islands government will report weekly on the evolution.


Image courtesy


Interesting links
Map of El Hierro with the seismic activity projected on it
Graphic of the number of earthquakes and their depth since July 18
Deformation graphics (look at the stations HI01 to HI04)


Earthquake Activity in Canary Islands

Earthquake activity below El Hierro volcano, Canary Islands, Spain

Last update: July 28, 2011 at 2:48 pm by By Tom Pering


Recently El Hierro volcano of the Canary Islands has been experiencing a seismic swarm beneath it, which as of yesterday reached to over 700 events.

Most of these events have been at Magnitudes of around 2 (+/-0.5) and are clustered beneath El Hierro whilst the depths of these earthquakes have been roughly between 9 and 16 km for the most part, with the exception of a few shallower and deeper quakes, the shallowest of which has been around 4 km (as of 27/04/11 8am GMT for the plotted data below) but as shallow as 1 km following this.
If we look at these earthquakes in two plots here we can see the clustering of these earthquakes is mainly confined to an oval area at 10 km depth.

to read more, go to::