Bulletin of Volcanology

, 82:13 | Cite as

Mechanisms for ballistic block ejection during the 2016–2017 shallow submarine eruption of Bogoslof volcano, Alaska

  • Christopher F. WaythomasEmail author
  • Larry G. Mastin
Research Article
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. The 2016-17 shallow submarine eruption of Bogoslof volcano, Alaska


Ejection of ballistic blocks was a characteristic feature of the 2016–2017 Bogoslof eruption. High-resolution satellite images acquired throughout the duration of the 9-month long eruptive period permitted the recognition and mapping of ballistic blocks on the surface of Bogoslof Island. Many of the satellite images recorded the accumulation of ballistic material over several individual eruptive events, but a few images recorded the effects of a single event. The nonuniform spatial distribution of blocks suggests that some of the eruption columns were inclined. Ballistic trajectories were estimated using the Eject! model and indicate that accumulation of blocks on Bogoslof Island required launch angles of 45–80° and initial velocities of 50–100 ms−1 to reproduce observed travel distances. The amount of ballistic fallout observed in satellite data indicates that there must have been a shallow submarine source of rock within the conduit/upper edifice system. Dense, accidental cryptodome trachyandesite, and juvenile basalt to trachybasalt scoria make up the bulk of the surface ejecta. Abundant accidental fragments and inclined eruption columns point to periodic vent-wall collapse and jetting around edges of temporarily blocked vents as the likely cause of ballistic ejection.


Ballistic blocks Bogoslof volcano Submarine eruption 


  1. Alatorre-Ibargüengoitia M, Delgado-Granados H, Dingwell D (2012) Hazard map for volcanic ballistic impacts at Popocatépetl volcano (Mexico). Bull Volcanol 74:2155–2169CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Andronico D, Harris AJL, Gurioli L, Ripepe M, Bernard J, Colò L, Favalli M (2013) Classification, landing distribution, and associated flight parameters for a bomb field emplaced during a single major explosion at Stromboli, Italy. Geology 41(5):559–562CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Blong RJ (1984) Volcanic hazards: a sourcebook on the effects of eruptions. Academic Press, OrlandoGoogle Scholar
  4. Breard ECP, Lube G, Cronin SJ, Fitzgerald R, Kennedy B, Scheu B, Montanaro C, White JDL, Tost M, Procter JN, Moebis A (2014) Using the spatial distribution and lithology of ballistic blocks to interpret eruption sequence and dynamics: August 6 2012 Upper Te Maari eruption, New Zealand. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 286:373–386CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Büttner R, Dellino P, Zimanowski B (1999) Identifying magma-water interaction from the surface features of ash particles. Nature 401(6754):688–690CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Byers FM Jr (1959) Geology of Umnak and Bogoslof Islands, Aleutian Islands, Alaska. US Geol Surv Bull 1028-L:267–369Google Scholar
  7. Byers FM Jr (1961) Petrology of three volcanic suites, Umnak and Bogoslof islands, Aleutian Islands, Alaska. Geol Soc Am Bull 72:93–128CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Coombs ML, Wech AG, Haney MM, Lyons JJ, Schneider DJ, Schwaiger HF, Wallace KL, Fee D, Freymueller JT, Schaefer JR, Tepp G (2018) Short-term forecasting and detection of explosions during the 2016–2017 eruption of Bogoslof volcano, Alaska. Front Earth Sci 6:122CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Coombs ML, Wallace KL, Cameron CE, Angeli K, Cervelli P (2019) Overview, chronology, and impacts of the 2016–2017 eruption of Bogoslof volcano, Alaska. Bull Volcanol 81:62–23. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. de Michieli Vitturi M, Neri A, Esposti Ongaro T, Lo Savio S, Boschi E (2010) Lagrangian modeling of large volcanic particles: application to Vulcanian explosions. J Geophys Res Solid Earth 115(B8):B08206CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Druitt TH, Young SR, Baptie B, Bonadonna C, Calder ES, Clarke AB, Cole PD, Harford CL, Herd RA, Luckett R, Ryan G, Voight B (2002) Episodes of cyclic Vulcanian explosive activity with fountain collapse at Soufrière Hills Volcano, Montserrat. In: Druitt TH, Kokelaar BP (eds) The eruption of Soufrière Hills Volcano, Montserrat, from 1995 to 1999, Geol Soc London Mem, vol 21, pp 281–306Google Scholar
  12. Engebretson DC, Cox A, Gordon RG (1984) Relative motions between oceanic plates of the Pacific Basin. J Geophys Res 89(B12):10291–10310. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Fagents SA, Wilson L (1993) Explosive volcanic eruptions—VII. The ranges of pyroclasts ejected in transient volcanic explosions. Geophys J Int 113(2):359–370CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Fee D, Lyons J, Haney M et al (2020) Seismo-acoustic evidence for vent drying during shallow submarine eruptions at Bogoslof volcano, Alaska. Bull Volcanol 82(2).
  15. Fitzgerald RH, Kennedy BM, Wilson TM, Leonard GS, Tsunematsu K, Keys H (2017) The communication and risk management of volcanic ballistic hazards. In: Fearnley C, Bird DK, Haynes K, McGuire WJ, Jolly G (eds) Observing the volcano world. Springer, Cham, pp 121–147CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Fournelle JH, Marsh BD, Myers JD (1994) Age, character, and significance of Aleutian arc volcanism. In: Plafker G, Berg HC (eds) The Geology of Alaska Geol Soc Amer The Geology of North America Series G, vol 1, pp 723–758Google Scholar
  17. Graettinger AH, Valentine GA, Sonder I, Ross PS, White JDL (2015) Facies distribution of ejecta in analog tephra rings from experiments with single and multiple subsurface explosions. Bull Volcanol 77(8):412–422CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Jaupart C, Vergniolle S (1988) Laboratory models of Hawaiian and Strombolian eruptions. Nature 331(6151):58–60CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Kokelaar P (1986) Magma-water interactions in subaqueous and emergent basaltic. Bull Volcanol 48(5):275–289CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Lestuzzi P, Pistolesi M, Biass S, Rosi M, Falcone J-L, Bonadonna C, Di Traglia F (2016) Great Balls of Fire: a probabilistic approach to quantify the hazard related to ballistics — a case study at La Fossa volcano, Vulcano Island, Italy. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 325:1–14CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Loewen MW, Izbekov P, Moshrefzadeh J et al (2019) Petrology of the 2016–2017 eruption of Bogoslof Island, Alaska. Bull Volcanol 81:72.
  22. Lorenz V (1986) On the growth of maars and diatremes and its relevance to the formation of tuff rings. Bull Volcanol 48:265–274CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Lyons JJ, Haney MM, Fee D, Wech A, Waythomas CF (2019a) Infrasound from giant bubbles during explosive submarine eruptions. Nat Geosci 12:952–958. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Lyons JJ, Iezzi AM, Fee D, Schwaiger HF, Wech A, Haney MM (2019b) Infrasound generated by the 2016–17 shallow submarine eruption of Bogoslof volcano, Alaska. Bull Volcanol (in press)Google Scholar
  25. Mastin LG (2001) A simple calculator of ballistic trajectories for blocks ejected during volcanic eruptions (No. 2001-45). Open-File Report 2001-45. US Geological Survey, Reston, p 13Google Scholar
  26. Mastin LG (2007) The generation of fine hydromagmatic ash by growth and disintegration of glassy rinds. J Geophys Res 112(B02203).
  27. Moore JG (1985) Structure and eruptive mechanisms at Surtsey Volcano, Iceland. Geol Mag 6:649–661CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Moore JG, Nakamura K, Alcaraz A (1966) The 1965 eruption of Taal volcano. Science 151:955–960CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Nairn IA, Self S (1978) Explosive eruptions and pyroclastic avalanches from Ngauruhoe in February 1975. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 3:39–60CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Nurmawati A, Konstantinou KI (2018) Hazard assessment of volcanic ballistic impacts at Mt Chihshin, Tatun Volcano Group, northern Taiwan. Nat Hazards 92(1):77–92CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Parfitt EA (2004) A discussion of the mechanisms of explosive basaltic eruptions. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 134:77–107CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Parfitt EA, Wilson L (1995) Explosive volcanic eruptions—IX. The transition between Hawaiian-style lava fountaining and Strombolian explosive activity. Geophys J Int 121(1):226–232CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Schneider DJ, Van Eaton AR, Wallace KL (2019) Satellite observations of the 2016–17 eruption of Bogoslof volcano: aviation and ash fallout hazard implications from a water-rich eruption. Bull Volcanol (in press)Google Scholar
  34. Scholl DW, Buffington EC, Hopkins DM (1968) Geologic history of the continental margin of North America in the Bering Sea. Mar Geol 6:297–330CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Scholl DW, Buffington EC, Hopkins DM, Alpha TR (1970) The structure and origin of the large submarine canyons of the Bering Sea. Mar Geol 8:187–210CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Self S, Wilson L, Nairn IA (1979) Vulcanian eruption mechanisms. Nature 277:440–443CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Sherwood AE (1967) Effect of air drag on blocks ejected during explosive cratering. J Geophys Res 72(6):1783–1791. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Taddeucci J, Alatorre-Ibargüengoitia MA, Cruz-Vázquez O, Del Bello E, Scarlato P, Ricci T (2017) In-flight dynamics of volcanic ballistic projectiles. Rev Geophys 55(3):675–718. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Tepp G, Dziak RP, Haney MM, Power J, Searcy C, Lyons JJ, Matsumoto H, Haxel JH (2019) Seismic and hydroacoustic observations of the 2016–17 Bogoslof eruption. Bull Volcanol 82:4.
  40. Thorarinsson S, Einarsson T, Sigvaldason G, Ellisson G (1964) The submarine eruption off the Vestmann Islands 1963-64. Bull Volcanol 27:435–445CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Thorarinsson S (1967) The Surtsey eruption and related scientific work. Polar Rec 13(86):571–578CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Tibaldi A, Bonali FL (2017) Intra-arc and back-arc volcano-tectonics: magma pathways at Holocene Alaska-Aleutian volcanoes. Earth Sci Rev 167:1–26CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Vanderkluysen L, Harris AJL, Kelfoun K, Bonadonna C, Ripepe M (2012) Bombs behaving badly: unexpected trajectories and cooling of volcanic projectiles. Bull Volcanol 74(8):1849–1858CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Van Eaton AR, Schneider DJ, Smith CM, Haney MM, Lyons JJ, Said R, Fee D, Holzworth RH, Mastin LG (2019) Did ice-charging generate volcanic lightning during the 2016–2017 eruption of Bogos lof volcano, Alaska? Bull Volcanol (in press)Google Scholar
  45. Vergniolle S, Mangan M (2000) Hawaiian and Strombolian eruptions. In: Sigurdsson H (ed) Encyclopedia of volcanoes. Academic Press, San Diego, pp 447–462Google Scholar
  46. Waitt RB, Mastin LG, Miller TP (1995) Ballistic showers during Crater Peak eruptions of Mount Spurr volcano, Summer 1992. In Keith TEC (ed.) The 1992 eruptions of Crater Peak Vent, Mount Spurr volcano, Alaska. US Geol Surv Bull 2139:89–106Google Scholar
  47. Waters AC, Fisher RV (1971) Base surges and their deposits: Capelinhos and Taal volcanoes. J Geophys Res 76:5596–5614CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Waythomas CF, Cameron CE (2018) Historical eruptions and hazards at Bogoslof volcano, Alaska. U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2018–5085, p 42.
  49. Waythomas CF, Loewen M, Larsen JF, Wallace K, Cameron C (2019a) Geology and eruptive history of Bogoslof volcano. Bull Volcanol (in press)Google Scholar
  50. Waythomas CF, Angeli K, Wessels R (2019b) 2016–2017 evolution of the submarine-subaerial edifice of Bogoslof volcano. Alaska, based on analysis of satellite imagery. Bull Volcanol (in press)Google Scholar
  51. Williams GT, Kennedy BM, Wilson TM, Fitzgerald RH, Tsunematsu K, Teissier A (2017) Buildings vs. ballistics: quantifying the vulnerability of buildings to volcanic ballistic impacts using field studies and pneumatic cannon experiments. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 343:171–180CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Wilson L (1972) Explosive volcanic eruptions—II. The atmospheric trajectories of pyroclasts. Geophys J R Astron Soc 30:381–392CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Wolfe EW (1988) The Puu Oo eruption of Kilauea volcano, Hawaii: Episodes 1 through 20, January 3, 1983, through June 8, 1984, U.S. Geol Surv Prof Paper 1463 pp 251Google Scholar
  54. Zimanowski B (1998) Phreatomagmatic explosions. In: Freundt A, Rosi M (eds) From magma to tephra: modeling physical processes of explosive volcanic eruptions. Elsevier, Amsterdam pp, pp 25–53Google Scholar

Copyright information

© This is a U.S. government work and not under copyright protection in the U.S.; foreign copyright protection may apply 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.U.S. Geological SurveyAlaska Volcano ObservatoryAnchorageUSA
  2. 2.U.S. Geological SurveyCascades Volcano ObservatoryVancouverUSA

Personalised recommendations