In our post about Tinakula’s October 2017 eruption I wrote: “This island is so remote that exiting news of an eruption may come through within a few days, but we will probably never learn when, how, or if at all the eruption has ended.”
Well, officially the eruption seems to have ended on 26 October 2017, as listed by the GVP. However, National Situation Reports by the NDMO appeared up into the first week of November; a volcanic assessment on Tinakula on Nov. 5 showed numerous eruptions and tremors. Also, news papers reported further ash fall on neighboring islands. After that, it became quiet about the volcano. On occasional traveller photos a steam plume could be seen, in satellite images the island was mostly wrapped in clouds.
Towards the end of 2018 I noticed in a satellite infrared image a single “red dot” on the summit of Tinakula, which might have been a temperature anomaly just from very hot gases escaping at a vent. Even so, I kept an eye on the volcano. There were no other news, no official announcements, reports or photos. Just more thermal anomalies during December and January, up to yesterday.
However, the reason for doing an update now is not a change in volcanic activity: We were kindly allowed by Captain and crew of the Research Vessel “Petrel”, who are presently working in the area, to show a few of their fine photos of Tinakula! Just to see how the volcano is doing now.
Of course these photos had been provided to the local authorities beforehand so that volcanologists may assess visible changes in the volcano (there are great shots zoomed in on the crater among them!). The ship’s crew also report that the volcano is gently steaming away and presenting a nice orange glow at night. Many thanks!
TINAKULA PHOTO GALLERY
The photos were taken from the R/V Petrel on January 24 and 25, 2019. I have put them in the gallery below – click on the first one to open:
Looking back through the satellite images available in the viewers*, one can assume that Tinakula’s activity increased slightly since early December 2018. Sentinel-2 images show heat anomalies on 08/12/2018, 02/01/2019, 12/01/2019 and 27/01/2019. Suomi NPP/VIIRS imagery (captures hot spots within 300m squares) shows red dots on the summit on 01-03, 08-09/12/2018 and 13, 18, 20, 30/01/2019.
Even though satellite images clearly show incandescence, there are almost no records on MIROVA Radiative Power graphs. This could be due to persistent cloud cover, or, that the heat source is just not strong enough.
Lava Dome or Cinder Cone?
Among Ryszard Chajęcki’s photos taken from the R/V Petrel is this remarkable zoom on the crater: a heap of fresh black lava cinders can be seen rising within. It could be another cinder cone, such as there have been before. Or is it a lava dome? I really look forward to any official statements.
Changes in the crater 2014-2019
Tinakula is growing
When the first satellite images came out during the 2017 eruption, it appeared that a new pyroclastic delta was forming on the NW coast. In the screenshots (below) from a 2018 video this new feature can clearly be seen:
Progress in Volcano Monitoring:
In October 2018 GNS NZ Science reported that a project had been started on the Solomon Islands to better keep an eye on volcanic and seismic hazards. The World-Bank-funded project involves installing new permanent seismic monitoring equipment in six of the nine provinces, helping to set up a monitoring centre in the capital Honiara, and providing training on maintaining and operating the new gear.
Previously Unreported Eruptions:
In their last Bulletin Report for Tinakula (from 02/2018) the GVP had no news on activity, but listed a number of recently found 19th- and 20th-century newspaper accounts. These short descriptions of eruptive activity witnessed by sailors passing nearby are a valuable new resource for previously unreported events:
So, for now all seems to be fine with Tinakula. Except that its eruptive history shows us that, generally, this volcano is a very busy beast – every few years it has been up to new mischief. So, probably it won’t be long before we hear from it again. Hopefully, it will not affect the neighboring islands’ people so as to stop them playing their lovely music.
Many thanks again to the crew of R/V Petrel and their captain Mr. Allan – may you have a safe and successful journey and always six inches of water under the keel!
Disclaimer: I am not a scientist, all information in this (and any of my other posts) is gleaned from the www and/or from books I have read, so hopefully from people who do get things right! 🙂 If you find something not quite right, or if you can add some more interesting stuff, please leave a comment.
Enjoy! – GRANYIA