Impressive eruption at Soputan?


UPDATE 10.9.08: This photo is not from the current eruption (see the comments below), so disregard any comments I might have about the current state of activity.

Contrary to some of the earlier reports, the eruption at Soputan in Indonesia might be more impressive than previously though. Pictures of the eruption (above) show a fairly healthy eruption column coming from the volcano, although it is hard to tell if the image is just an eruption column or a column with an associated column-collapse pyroclastic flow heading down the far side of the volcano (in the picture). The former would imply a vigorous supply of gas-rich magma, the latter might imply less magma in the conduit with an eruption rate less than is needed to support the ash column. In any case, Indonesia officials are evacuating a 4-km radius from the volcano as it continues to erupt.


  1. #3 volcanism
    October 8, 2008

    The picture shown is of the eruption that took place in June 2008, not the current activity. See:

    It’s a reprehensible but common practice in the general media to use file photographs of former eruptions to illustrate reports on volcanoes, without making the date of the picture clear. One eruption is as good as another, apparently.

    Soputan is still on a yellow alert and there is no mandatory evacuation, so it seems that the present eruption is fairly low-key.

  2. #4 volcanism
    October 8, 2008

    Correction – it seems Soputan is on orange alert, the second-highest alert level:

  3. #5 Erik Klemetti
    October 8, 2008

    Thanks for all the clarification folks. That would be two volcanoes in one day that were misrepresented in the media. This is the danger of trying to cull information on volcanic eruptions from these sources.

  4. #6 Ron de Haan
    October 8, 2008

    Hello Eric,
    IRIS, today reported the following quakes:
    08-OCT-2008 07:57:34 79.82 -115.41 5.3 10.0 ARCTIC OCEAN
    07-OCT-2008 19:49:04 79.69 -115.16 4.4 10.0 ARCTIC OCEAN
    07-OCT-2008 10:00:48 79.83 -115.23 5.8 10.0 ARCTIC OCEAN

    Do you think these quakes are related to volcanic activity?

  5. #7 Erik Klemetti
    October 9, 2008

    Ron, I took a lot at the location of these events, and my guess would be they are tectonic rather than volcanic. They aren’t in an area of any known volcanoes, and seem especially shallow for such an event in that location.

  6. #8 Ron de Haan
    October 10, 2008

    Thanks Erik.

    What do you think of the idea to immediately make visible if a quake takes place near a volcano by projecting the volcano’s into he quake maps?
    I think it could be a useful tool

    The ideal situation is a three D multi-media projection of all relevant data
    into a single projection creating instant situational awareness.
    Projections could contain quakes, volcano’s, emissions, lava streams, burning coal fields, floods, storms etc. etc.

    I think we have the computer power and software available.
    In principle it is a matter of data streaming.

    For the moment I would settle for the simple projection of volcano’s into the iris map
    It would also be nice to have a direct link to a web cam volcano’s.
    I can not tell you how many times I have taken a peak at the Chaitén airport web cam to see the ongoing eruption.

    I think I send them a mail.



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