Italy's Volcanoes: The Cradle of Volcanology

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News about the eruptive activity of Etna are available on the Etna News page


20 August 2000

Conditions on the Japanese island of Miyakejima have deteriorated in mid August with further episodes of caldera collapse and two major eruptive episodes at the summit of the island's central volcano Oyama. Both episodes were accompanied by intense seismic activity, including earthquakes that could be felt as far as Tokyo, about 200 km to the NNE. By early August the newly formed caldera was about 450 m deep and had an area of more than 1.2 square kilometers (see also here for a collection of photos documenting the evolution of the caldera - note that almost all of these links are leading to pages in Japanese).
On the morning of 10 August, a dark eruption column rose at least 3 km above the summit of the volcano, causing heavy ash falls on the NE side of the island. The eruption was described as the most vigorous of several eruptive episodes associated with caldera collapse that had occurred since mid July. Aerial photos taken after that event showed that the caldera floor had flattened, and a small cone had formed there, emitting hot mud and water. Minor phreatic explosions continued during the following days, including a larger emission of ash on 14 August. By that time a monitoring camera had been installed in the town of Tsubota on the SE side of the island (images are posted every 20 minutes on the web).
The largest eruptive episode so far occurred on the afternoon of 18 August. It lasted more than 3 hours and produced an impressive black eruption column up to 8 km high. For the first time it seems that fresh magma was involved in this activity, since hot rock fragments were reported falling during the activity. Tephra was deposited to a thickness of up to 15 cm in the NW part of the island.
As of 20 August, the caldera is continuing to enlarge and now occupies an area of 1.89 square kilometers. Stills captured from a video taken during an overflight over the caldera on 20 August are available here.
In Chile, eruptive activity is continuing at Copahue volcano. The activity intensified in mid August, and ejections of incandescent rock fragments were observed for the first time. The southern Chilean newspaper "El Sur" frequently reports on the activity of the volcano.

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