The explosive eruption of Raikoke volcano (Kurile Islands) 21-22 June 2019

Updated: Jan 21, 2022 14:56 GMT - Refresh
A powerful explosive eruption, possibly sub-plinian, started from the remote island volcano early on 22 June at around 06:10 local time (or 18:00 on 21 June GMT). On this page we collect updates on this significant events in descending order (latest always on top):

Raikoke volcano (Kurile Islands): SO2 gas plumes continue to spread around the northern hemisphere

Thu, 27 Jun 2019, 05:54
05:54 AM | BY: T
SO2 plume from Raikoke's eruption on 21 June as of 27 June 2019 (image: SACS/BIRA-IASB)
SO2 plume from Raikoke's eruption on 21 June as of 27 June 2019 (image: SACS/BIRA-IASB)
The activity at the small island volcano itself seems to have decreased a lot or even ceased - there are no more new ash alerts issued that mention new emissions at the volcano itself, and no significant heat signals can be found.
However, VAAC Anchorage continues to alert about the possible remaining ash clouds from the main phase of the eruption during 21-22 June. On the other hand, most of this ash must by now have been dispersed sufficiently to fall below direct detection by satellite-based sensors.
What is still clearly being detected is the significant SO2 gas plume: in various branches, it hovers over parts of Siberia, the northern Pacific and Alaska mainly at altitudes between 9-13 km.

Raikoke volcano (Kurile Islands): incredible image of eruption column from space showing gravity waves

Tue, 25 Jun 2019, 15:03
15:03 PM | BY: T
View of the vertically rising and expanding plume head during the peak phase of the eruption of Raikoke volcano during 21-22 June, 5th or 6th explosive phase (image: NASA Earth))
View of the vertically rising and expanding plume head during the peak phase of the eruption of Raikoke volcano during 21-22 June, 5th or 6th explosive phase (image: NASA Earth))
NASA published an amazing photograph of the circular eruption column topping out at around 43,000 ft (13 km) altitude, during the peak phase of activity around noon of 22 June (local time).
It beautifully displays circular gravity waves in the plume head created by the overshooting and falling back of the ash-gas mixture of the plume at maximum height, where the plume's buoyancy has decreased to zero in the thinner atmosphere at altitude.
These waves are similar to the circular waves created on the water surface when an small object, e.g. a stone falls into it and causes a local displacement of the water that then spreads out in expanding circles..
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Links / Sources:

Raikoke volcano (Central Kuriles, Kuril Islands) activity update: First images of the eruption from the ground

Tue, 25 Jun 2019, 13:03
13:03 PM | BY: MJFLEGEND
The ash column rising above the summit.
The ash column rising above the summit.
Pre-eruption view of a rocky outcrop with sea lions in the foreground.
Pre-eruption view of a rocky outcrop with sea lions in the foreground.
The same outcrop afterwards. The habitat is completely destroyed. Pyroclastic deposits have extended the shoreline.
The same outcrop afterwards. The habitat is completely destroyed. Pyroclastic deposits have extended the shoreline.
We finally have information about the situation on the ground, courtesy of a ship that was passing in the area during the large eruption on Sunday. As expected, there is a lot of damage!

Meanwhile, the drifting plumes continue to disperse over the Aleutian Islands. Updates continue to be released by Anchorage VAAC. The Aviation Colour Code has been lowered to Yellow.

Credit for all images: Nik Pavlov via KVERT.
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Links / Sources:
  • KVERT: Original report page (in Russian)

Raikoke volcano (Kurile Islands): ash and gas plumes continue to swirl above the northern Pacific, ash emissions at the volcano

Mon, 24 Jun 2019, 10:42
10:42 AM | BY: T
Today's model of the ash plume from Raikoke over the northern Pacific (image: ESA)
Today's model of the ash plume from Raikoke over the northern Pacific (image: ESA)
SO2 plume (image: ESA)
SO2 plume (image: ESA)
Ash plume from the volcano itself seen today via satellite
Ash plume from the volcano itself seen today via satellite
Activity at the volcano continues: ash emissions are visible on satellite imagery, but they are less intense than the explosions during 21-22 June.
The large ash and gas plume from this initial phase is still swirling around and hovering above the northern Pacific, in a vast area between Kamchatka and Alaska. Its maximum altitude is estimated at up to 40,000 ft (12 km) a.s.l. Distorted and dissected by winds from an important low-pressure system (cyclone), the ash and gas cloud now consists actually of several plumes, some with impressive spiral shapes hundreds of km long.
VAAC Anchorage regularly issues updates and corresponding warning to aircraft in the region.

Raikoke volcano (Kurile Islands): volcanic ash cloud warning for aircraft in the Aleutian area

Sun, 23 Jun 2019, 07:38
07:38 AM | BY: T
Currently affected area of the drifting ash cloud from Raikoke's eruption 21-22 June 2019 (imge: VAAC Anchorage)
Currently affected area of the drifting ash cloud from Raikoke's eruption 21-22 June 2019 (imge: VAAC Anchorage)
Location of the ash and SO2 plumes at the moment (source: ESA)
Location of the ash and SO2 plumes at the moment (source: ESA)
While the eruptive activity at the volcano itself has calmed down to much smaller ash emissions, it is unclear whether it is a pause or the ending phase of the recent violent eruption.
In the meanwhile the high-level (up to 43,000 ft / 13 km altitude) ash plume continues to drift eastwards over the northern Pacific and has reached the Aleutian island chain. VAAC Anchorage which is monitoring this busy airspace (routes between N-America and Asia) issued a warning and shows the affected area in the graphic attached.

Raikoke volcano (Central Kuriles, Kuril Islands) activity update: Intense activity ends

Sat, 22 Jun 2019, 20:15
20:15 PM | BY: MJFLEGEND
Ash is now rising only to 4.5km (15,000ft), as reported by Tokyo VAAC. The large, high-altitude ash clouds produced earlier continue to drift over the Pacific. The eruption could still return to the previous level or could even develop into a full-scale sub-plinian eruption, as in this volcano's previous two eruptions.
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