Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Overview of the eruptions of Sinabung Volcano, 2010 and 2013-present, and details of the 2013 phreatomagmatic phase

September 15, 2019

A small phreatic eruption of Sinabung Volcano, North Sumatra on
August 28, 2010, at 18:30 local time marked the first eruption in the
past ~1200 years. The eruption took place from two small vents in the
south crater area. Explosions and ash emissions from these vents
generated multiple ash plumes that reached altitudes of up to 5 km during
early- to mid-September. By the end of September, only low level steam
plumes were visible and the alert level was reduced from Level 4
(highest) to Level 3. The 2010 eruption effectively ended at this time.
Beginning two days after the initial 2010 eruption, activity of the
eruption has been monitoring continuously by a telemetered seismic
network surrounding the volcano and by remotely sensed observations. This
monitoring system was supplemented with a near-field continuous GPS
network, beginning in February 2011. Persistent fumarolic emissions
continued for almost 3 years following the 2010 eruption, before a new
eruption began on 15 September 2013. This eruption continues to the
present. The ongoing eruption is divided into 5 major phases: 1)
phreatomagmatic phase (July 2013 - 18 December 2013); 2) first dome and
collapse phase with pyroclastic density currents (PDCs; block-and-ash
flows and related surges) to south (18 December 2013 - 10 January 2014);
3) lava-flow and collapse phase (10 January 2014 - mid-September 2014);
4) second lava dome and collapse phase with PDCs to south (mid-September
2014 - July 2015); 5) lava dome collapse and ash explosion phase with
PDCs to southeast and east (August 2015 - present). The volcano erupted
intermittently during the early phreatomagmatic phase with small vertical
ash explosions. Then the eruption became increasingly vigorous with more
repetitive and intense vertical ash explosions during late October
through November. The first small pyroclastic density currents (PDCs)
began on November 1. These pyroclastic flows descended the southeastern
flank to a distance of 2 km.

Publication Year 2019
Title Overview of the eruptions of Sinabung Volcano, 2010 and 2013-present, and details of the 2013 phreatomagmatic phase
DOI 10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2017.08.005
Authors Hendra Gunawan, Surono, Agus Budianto, Kristianto, Oktory Prambada, Wendy A. McCausland, John S. Pallister, Masato Iguchi
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research
Index ID 70205835
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Volcano Science Center