Monday Musings: Russian activity, tremors at Ngauruhoe and Mayon climbers beware

News for Monday!

Ngauruhoe in New Zealand, showing the dark lava flows of basaltic andesite on the slopes of the young volcanic cone. Image by Erik Klemetti, taken January 2009.

  • A couple pieces of news from two Russian volcanoes on the Kamchatka Peninsula: (1) last week's report of activity at Gorely appears to be semi-substantiated with new photos on the KVERT website (Russian). The images from June 6 and 12 (2010) shows steam plumes coming from the volcano - one as tall as 500 meters. Now, this doesn't imply that an eruption occurred, but it might suggest activity on on the upswing. KVERT continues to list the Alert Status at Gorely as "Green". (2) An eruption over the weekend at Shiveluch produced an explosive plume that reached 4.5 km / 15,000 feet. Over the last few days, the volcano has experienced over 150 earthquakes, but the activity is no threat to nearby villages or aviation over the peninsula. The status at Shiveluch remains at "Orange".
  • On the other side of the Pacific Ocean, there are some interesting tremors (Updated 6/21/2010: Nope, likely these "tremors" are just wind in the area of the webicorder - see the comments below) going on near Ngauruhoe in New Zealand. This fairly active volcano is part of the Taupo Volcano Zone and is located next door to Ruapehu near the famous Tongariro Crossing. Now, there is no indication on the New Zealand GeoNet website and the status is still "green", but it could be something to watch. Ngauruhoe last erupted in 1977 and had frequent eruptions in the middle of the 20th century. Ngauruhoe is really the youngest cone of Tongariro volcano - a cone that started forming only 2,500 years ago. The volcano tends to have strombolian explosions with basaltic andesite lava flows (see image above) ... and be sure to check out the Ngauruhoe webcam.
  • Over in the Philippines, government officials now have the deal with tourists visiting Mayon instead of Taal after they were warned to stay away from the latter volcano. However, dangers still exist at Mayon, where there are frequent rockfalls and small explosions - yet tour guides still bring people into the 6-km exclusion zone. Although the Alert Status at Mayon is at Level 1, the crater still glows red at night, reminding us that magma is still near the surface.
  • Finally, last year there was a lot of talk about the oil storage tanks near Redoubt in Alaska. This week, the Cook Inlet Regional Citizens Advisory Council heard a report on the storage tanks and whether the CIRCA did an appropriate job in planning for a volcanic eruption from the Alaskan volcano in regards to the potential spill from the tanks. More or less, it appears that the Council may have been complacent in the oversight of the facility - a common problem when it comes to planning for disasters.

{Hat tip to Eruptions readers M. Randolph Kruger and Bruce Stout for information used in this post.}

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Which tremors for Ngauruhoe do you mean, it looks like it's only had two earthquakes in the last few months, is it the smaller tremours?

This is great news, I've been waiting for this one to erupt for ages. Last year when I climbed it last year it only has steaming out a few fumaroles at the top at the side and inside the main crater nothing was steaming at all. NZ has been pretty boring of late, I wish something would happen there.

Greg: Be careful what you wish for, especially when talking about eruptions!

Thanks for the info about Mt. Ngauruhoe, Erik. I'll check the webcam when I'm not at work :-)
I did the Tongariro Crossing in 2000 and vividly remember the blue and green crater lakes up there.
As there are many tourists up there every day (at least in summer) I would not wish a sudden eruption or bursting crater lake rims...

I wonder if Ngauruhoe isn't just celebrating the "Victory" of the all whites against Italy yesterday. I guess a volcanic victory dance would be a bit tremorsome:)
And let me just say that for a swede Ngauruhoe is definitly on the list of un-pronouncable volcanic names. Give me something easy like Eyjafjallajökull any day!

Ngauruhoe is a very beautifull volcano, would look stunning with a nice strombolian eruption, especially since it dont have any ice-cap on top. Hope there are a lot of webcams around! One that up-dates every 30 minutes would be a bit disapointing. A live feed from a few angles and a FLIR for night-time would be good, microphones so one could put it on the speakers, and of course live helicorders so I could feed my finally finished actuating chair... Then it would just be to fire up the videoprojector and pop a beer:) Would beat the Football worldcup any day.

A question:
Is there anywhere one could get translations from the Indonesian volcanic centres updates? I've tried to look but haven't found any on their site.

Would be nice to see if something is brewing there since they do have some of the nicer volcanos around.

Thank's in advance for the avalanche of help that I know will be coming from the knowledgeable pros here!

@Carl #5 Try using the Google Chrome web browser. You can get all sites translated to the language of your choice. It automatically detects the language and you may choose to which language you want the article translated. I would advise you to choose English - you know, as for Portuguese you may get very funny results. I tried the link you posted (thank you for that) in English and it worked fair enough. Of course it doesn't work for images.

By Renato I Silveira (not verified) on 21 Jun 2010 #permalink

On Hvólsvöllur cam steam plume is visible now. Lady E is still giving signs of life.

By Renato I Silveira (not verified) on 21 Jun 2010 #permalink

#2 as long as lake Tapou or Auckland field doesn't erupt it will be ok. That Ngauruhoe climb really makes you fit lol. And the weather coming in and out and crampons at the top made it lots of fun too. Ruapehu's crater lake softly churning actually looked more creepy :P

not sure if intrested or not, but found this site not sure if its fake or not. National Association of radio-distress signalling and infocommunications,Emergency and Disaster information services {EDIS} or this site shows all the current volcanoes and earthquakes ect.

@ Greg (and all) - Ooops! I somehow forgot to add the link for the Ngauruhoe tremor. I've updated the post above and you can see the webicorder for Oturere (Ngauruhoe). Sorry about that.

Hi, what sort of tremors are they, harmonic?

Greg: well, I was thinking more about Taupo et al. Or Taranaki, which is statistically more likely to reawaken soon than either Taupo or Auckland. Re Ngaurohoe; I've got an interesting book ('Hot Water Country' by Ross Annabell) which has some lively anecdotes about it. Published in NZ, I think, so it's on your patch, I'd guess

Here's Thorvaldseyri's new website, the early 'farm under the volcano' - Wish there were an English version, but hey...

By birdseyeUSA (not verified) on 21 Jun 2010 #permalink

birdseyesUSA.comment13, It can be in english just click on union jack top left side of the page

@12 Would be nice if White Island fired up, apparently it's thrown rocks 50km to the mainland before lol

Greg 12: Is White Island still privately owned? (It certainly used to be). In which case lawyers would have a field day if it caused damage on the mainland LOL

Sorry, that should have been to Greg 16

Hi to all,

Birdseye @13,Hi I just checked out the Thorvaldseyri website.On the main page at top left there are Icelandic and English flags.Click on the English flag and it all becomes much clearer !
Laura @15.Curious little swarm that,and no real depth to any of them.Umm,we will see.

By Adrian,Dorset, UK (not verified) on 21 Jun 2010 #permalink

@14,19,21 ...and I just got new glasses, thanks! ;

By birdseyeUSA (not verified) on 21 Jun 2010 #permalink

Not sure if it's anything, but a curious darker cloud is rising on the far left of the thoro cam... and someone just walked by snapping pictures.

By Laura from Canada (not verified) on 21 Jun 2010 #permalink

And by far left, I of course me far right.... lol

By Laura from Canada (not verified) on 21 Jun 2010 #permalink

Ngauruhoe is still fast asleep. Doesn'nt look like volcanic tremor at all. Climbed it last year, it could use a new eruption though, the slopes ar getting very eroded by all the people climbing it.

I'm 99.9% certain that you're observing wind on the Ngauruhoe (...and other NZ volcano seismometers)! Remember it's winter now down there. If Nguaruhoe,..or any other volcano was producing the observed ground motion, bells and wistles would be ringing off their mounts. Seismometers don't just record volcano-genic stuff,...I've seen helicopter passes on the Ruapehu seismograph from time to time.


By Rodger Wilson (not verified) on 21 Jun 2010 #permalink

@ Ber - Yeah, I'm not sure what to make of the noise on the webicorder. Any thoughts from the tremor-hounds out there?

Question: The last I looked Redoubt had been removed from the larger Holocene eruptions list, anyone know why? Here is a copy/paste from when it was there.

Name - Location - Date - Volcano Explosivity Index

CHAITEN Southern Chile 2008  May 2  VEI 4 OKMOK Aleutian Islands 2008  Jul 12  4? KASATOCHI Aleutian Islands 2008  Aug 7  4
REDOUBT Southwestern Alaska 2009  Mar 22  4
SARYCHEV PEAK Kuril Islands 2009  Jun 11  4

Didn't Redoubt erupt 16 times with plumes over 12 miles high, or am I mistaken?

By Ed Murphy (not verified) on 21 Jun 2010 #permalink

Hello Everyone,. :))

just wonderin if "Eyafjatlajøkutl" has a new eruption, it seems like the plume has become a little darker and goes a little bit higher up than It has been the last days(weeks)??

btw a young customer at my store was just uber cute today and asked me if the volcano was still volcanoing on Iceland,. heheh. She was only 7 years.. aww I tought it was cute,.

@Thor,Hi,its a little hard to say at present;too much cloud,but there was quite a large plume earlier re Laura @23&24.

By Adrian,Dorset, UK (not verified) on 21 Jun 2010 #permalink

@Thor and Adrian, the recent eq swarms might point to something POTENTIALLY stirring, but alot of them were very shallow. I'm questioning though the lack thereof any real tremor movements. I'm pretty sure I saw a plume, but there was some cloud cover (and some very dark clouds) so it could have been that. Just thought that it was ironic that when I saw it, someone else ran by the camera snapping pictures. ;)

By Laura from Canada (not verified) on 21 Jun 2010 #permalink


I don't think anything is going on in the way of an eruption right now - but a flood might be in the program, and you can never bypass explosions as long as things are as hot as they are now. The greatest hazards now are, in my opinion;
1) renewed eruptive activity in the current crater with extremely violent interaction vith the water there
2) no eruption, but a breach of the crater rim releasing all the water trapped in the crater and the jökullhlaup down Gigjökull following that

A nice approximation of the pronunciation of Eyjafjallajökull, btw - although the Norwegian/Danish version of 'ö' (ø) might throw some people.

By Kultsi, Askola, FI (not verified) on 21 Jun 2010 #permalink

Ed 28: I think the Redoubt eruption plumes reached 12km, rather than 12 miles, which is a big difference! Also the VEI rating is calculated on more than just plume height; it certainly includes the total volume of lava/tephra produced in the eruption, and the 2009 eruption was no bigger than (or maybe slightly smaller than) the 1989 eruption in terms of volume..and that was a VEI 3

Kultsi :))


I was just checking on the Metrolocial pages
and there has been more activity,when it comes to shallow quakes then it has been for days/weeks,.
maybe its because of the ice/water melting and running into the crater and down the plumbings inside the mountain??

If you warm up mountain and then add cold water on it it cracks and breaks so maybe that makes the quakes??

anyways there is something going on up there,
and I agree with you

1) renewed eruptive activity in the current crater with extremely violent interaction vith the water there

2) no eruption, but a breach of the crater rim releasing all the water trapped in the crater and the jökullhlaup down Gigjökull following that

These scenarios will both be diastrous, and extremely dangerous.

Remember that

Eyjafjäll, has had longtime eruptions that has had on /of breaks in between the eruptions, somtimes longer breaks and other where shorter..
if the water mixes with lava then things will sure become nasty for a while and quite explosive..

and Im sure the eruption on "Eyjafjatlajökutl" is not over,its just in another fase before starting up again..
and I wont be surpriced if another Volcano will erupt in the meantime, no im not sugesting Katla, that eruption might take some time before starting.. but will sure come with time..

@ Roger, 26

wind noise was what I thought of first too so I checked nearby seismograms to see if there was anything unusual but they looked normal to me (I check the geonet seismograms out everday) and, knowing the volanic plateau, high winds are more the norm than the exception, so this would mean a really exceptional storm to generate such a localized signal. On top of that, I haven't seen the graph look like this before in over, at a guess, two years of following it. That's why I mentioned it here.

OTOH Geonet haven't mentioned anything at all on their site or bumped up the volcano alert, so I guess you're right. There must be some extraneous source for the signal. Maybe they moved it or some tourists are having a party or something.

By bruce stout (not verified) on 21 Jun 2010 #permalink

@Thor, @Adrian @Laura: Definitely there's a darker plume. Clouds are coming and going, but keep checking on Ãórólsfell and Múlakot cams. A pity that I must leave now.

By Renato I Silveira (not verified) on 21 Jun 2010 #permalink…

Flood in Iceland.

Where is the seismograph in NZ, since when we climbed Mnt Doom it was Novemberish and there heaps of ice on it, so now there must be a lot of ice on that mountain. The weather really came in and out all the time and we had a few white outs. Yeah it's overdue for an eruption since before the 1970s it erupted pretty regularly. There is an old worn out sign up from NZ Geo about "toxic gas" inside the crater and not to climb in, I think it was stirring a bit in the last 10 years but has been really quiet and boring lately. So hopefully it wakes up, since it's erupts differently to it's giant neighbor.

@17 Yeah I think White Island is still private. Arises from the sulphur mining that used to occur there, until one day all the miners were gone :P

As Rodger says, I don't see any tremor at Ngauruhoe, only the usual mid-winter weather. It often looks like that on windy days. Sorry to disappoint!

@41 nooooooooooooooooo I want NZ to go active, so I don't have to fly across the planet to see active volcanoes :P

@ 41 mfs.. Thanks for the feedback. Just by chance, mfs, it sounds like you and Rodger know what you are talking about. Personally I would love to hear more about NZ's volcanoes if you are, um, closer to the source (perhaps not a very apt thing to say when I think about it) e.g. do you have any info about the small swarm under haroharo ? etc.

BTW, I'd still dispute the claim that it often looks like that on windy days. Raoul often looks like that, but as I mentioned above, just about every other day IS a windy day on Ngauruhoe and I honestly haven't seen it look like that before. I am not saying it is tremor (as otherwise Geonet would have issued a statement) just... well I guess I am just trying to save face by tripping over backwards. ;-)

By bruce stout (not verified) on 21 Jun 2010 #permalink

Hi Bruce,

The gain settings (amplification) on each of the NZ volcanoes appears to be different (perhaps according to their levels of activity and also according to their sensitivity to wind, cultural noise, etc). I've watched them for a while as well. Since Ngauruhoe was showing some seismic activity the past few years, I take the GNS seismologists have that station running alittle "hot" so they don't miss anything. If you watch activity at Tongariro vs Ngauruhoe (which is actually a parasitic vent of Tongariro) you'll see what I mean. A good test of their sensitivity is to find a regional earthquake on all the seismograms, and then find out where it occurred in relation to each station. Typically, the regional event will be well recorded on the Ngauruhoe station and rather weak on the nearby Tongariro station (If the amplification of both stations were identical, a regional event should appear nearly identical in size and with similar waveforms).
If you want to see what tremor looks like at a NZ volcano, keep an eye on White Island. There is usually low level tremor there which ebbs and flows over time, sometimes grading into discrete low-frequency earthquakes,...saw that last month in fact!


By Rodger Wilson (not verified) on 21 Jun 2010 #permalink

Thank you to everyone who helped clear up this Ngauruhoe webicorder noise observation - I've updated the post to reflect the consensus that it reflects wind in the area. Good to keep us on our toes, eh?

Bruce @ 43,
I might be closer than you but still pretty far (Tasmania). I spend a couple of weeks working in NZ most years and have been keeping a regular eye on Ngauruhoe since the earthquake swarm that happened a couple of years ago. I remember seeing very thick traces quite often in the past and it's always been attributed to weather. Just like Taranaki seismometers used to be near the North Egmont park entrance and showed road traffic noise regularly during opening hours.
If any new activity occurs, the Geonet website is usually pretty much on the ball and issuing alert bulletins at short notice.

I wouldn't be too concerned about that Gorely volcano. It sounds like a girly volcano to me.

Ref my last [48], the 2nd graphic has a "Kat" label, ignore it. I forgot to yank it out when I slewed the graph to the plan view.

@49: Thanks, Bud!
Deep pressure continues from below.

Eyjaf eruption rolls along at low throttle. Surficial EQ from peripheral icecap melting and steam flashing with gas bumping.

And.. since I'm doing a slight hiatus from the Oilcano...

15 Minute Quake energy (all quakes from site, updated to 22 June.

Mike @34 Hi, I'm big into the effect volcano eruptions have on weather intensity and cloud formation.

According to this write-up by Joe D'Aleo of fame...

Redoubt blew over a dozen times to 60-65,000 ft plus and that calculates to 12+ miles.

I keep seeing other climate related data being altered or even hidden by certain agencies, won't go into that, but I'm just plenty curious. For example, much of the past raw Zurich solar cycle data at NASA now cannot be retrieved. Redoubt is suddenly missing from the Smithsonian Holocene list... like what's going on? I want to know. Thx

Love this blog btw!

By Ed Murphy (not verified) on 21 Jun 2010 #permalink

@Ed Murphy[52]

Have you tried SIDC as an alternate source of Solar Cycle data? It's the Royal Observatory of Belgium and is sort of responsible for keeping a tally of some of that data.

Kp and AP indexes can be found here :

And, if you want to see something really stupid...

This is a plot of the end of Cycle 23 and the start of Cycle 24. According to SIDC, the cycle began on 12/13/2007 when the first reversed polarity spot appeared. The red line is the monthly SSN of an average cycle (derived from the previous 23 cycles at that particular month in the cycle) and the yellow traces are 1 standard deviation above and below that value. Theoretically, 64% of the time whatever monthly SSN you happen to have should be between the two yellow curves. (standard deviation was also derived from previous 23 cycles)

Eh.. it's late. Sorry for the OT.

Has Mount Egmont had any tremours over recent time, that one is long overdue. Beautiful shape with the flat plane around it. And that volcano is out of line with all the others in the North island system

Thank you Erik for the kind words.....

By M. Randolph Kruger (not verified) on 22 Jun 2010 #permalink

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