Sangeang Api, Lesser Sunda Islands, Indonesia: Eruption 30 May 2014

Sangeang Api erupted at 3:55pm local time on 30 May 2014 with a large explosive eruption.

Iamge found on Twitter by the editor:

Image found on Twitter by the editor: Probaby the photograph was taken by photographer Sofyan Efendi during a flight from Bali to Labuan Bajo.

Initial reports suggest that the ash cloud reached 65,000 ft above sea level [1].  The island is uninhabited but still used for farming. The local authorities ordered the evacuation of local farmers. At the time of writing, flights in the area are disrupted; two airlines have cancelled flight to and from Darwin Airport [2]. The latest VAA from Darwin VAAC [3] estimates the ash cloud at 50,000 ft above sea level.

Fig 2:  Darwin VAAC alert as at 23:58 30 May 2014.  Source:

Fig 2: Darwin VAAC alert as at 23:58 30 May 2014. Source:

About Sangeang Api

Sangeang Api is one of the most active volcanoes in the Lesser Sunda Islands, located 7 km off the NE coast of Sumbawa. She is a complex volcano with two overlapping cones, the active cone Doro Api (1949 m) and the older cone and Doro Mantoi (1795 m); and, she lies in an older caldera. Sangeang Api is next to and east of Tambora which famously erupted in April 1815 with an estimated size of VEI – 7. Note that Sangeang Api’s recent eruption have been smaller than Tambora’s.

The Lesser Sunda Islands are part of the Sunda Arc, a volcanic island arc which formed in the Miocene 15 million years ago when the Australian and Asian plates met.

Eruptive History

Sangeang Api’s earliest recorded historic eruptions were in 1512 and she has erupted frequently since with approximately 20 eruptions ranging in size from VEI-1 to VEI-3 [1, 4] . (GVP’s site is down at the moment so I cannot give the most recent number of eruptions).

Her eruptions are often effusive with lava flows accompanying strombolian activity following an initial explosive phase. Her eruptive products are: potassic, volatile enriched silica-undersaturated lavas abundant in clinopyroxene-rich, mafic and ultramafic xenoliths. The xenoliths are believed have formed from fragments of cumulate magmatic bodies in the arc crust by progressive crystal liquid differentiation of her parental magmas.[6]

Her lavas are potassic trachybasalt to trachyandesite. She has lavas typical of a MORB (mid ocean ridge basalt) source – clinopyroxene olivine; and, lavas more typical of relatively evolved magmas – plagioclase clinopyroxene magnetite and plagioclase amphibole clinopyroxene magnetite. Her more evolved magmas are similar to potassic Pleistocene volcanoes Soromundi and Sangenges to the west and Batu Tara to the north east. [6]

Tectonic Setting

Sangeang Api is close to the junction of the Sunda Plate, Timor Plate and Banda Sea Plate, north of the Australian Plate in a very lively tectonic setting.

Fig 3: Sunda, Timor, Banda Sea and Australian Plates by Sting and Rémih, published under Wiki Commons, source:

Fig 3: Sunda, Timor, Banda Sea and Australian Plates by Sting and Rémih, published under Wiki Commons, source:

She is located 190km above the Benioff zone. The crust is made up of oceanic crust thickened by both volcanic and tectonic activity. The Moho is around 14km to 17km depth. Looking at the most recent earthquakes (4,621) we can see the descending Australian Plate, although the picture is complicated by the motion of the other plates.

Latitude v Longitude as shown on IRIS Earthquake Browser:

Fig 4:  Recent earthquake in the region as shown in IRIS:  Source:

Fig 4: Recent earthquake in the region as shown in IRIS: Source:

Depth v Longitude (looking north):

Fig 5:  Depth v Longitude for the above earthquake set by the author.  Copyright rests with the author and reproduced here with her kind permission.

Fig 5: Depth v Longitude for the above earthquake set by the author. Copyright rests with the author and reproduced here with her kind permission.

reproduced here with her kind permission.

Depth v Latitude (looking west):

Fig 6:  Depth v Latitude for the above earthquake set by the author.  Copyright rests with the author and reproduced here with her kind permission.

Fig 6: Depth v Latitude for the above earthquake set by the author. Copyright rests with the author and reproduced here with her kind permission.

Hope you enjoyed reading this. The usual caveats apply: “Not an expert, etc..”

KarenZ, 30 May 2014.


  1. Daily Mail:
  2. SBS:
  3. Darwin VAAC:
  4. Volcanoes of the World Third Edition Lee Siebert, Tom Simkin, and Paul Kimberly, Smithsonian Institution, University of California Press.
  5. Volcano Discovery:
  6. “Rates and Process of Potassic Magma Evolution Beneath Sangean Api Volcano, East Sunda Arc, Indonesia” S Turner, J Foden, R Geaorge, P Evans, R varne, M Elburg and G Jenner, Journal of Petrology, Volume 44, Number 3, Pages 491 to 515, 2003.


Editors note:  THANK you KarenZ for such a lovely post on such a short notice. Easy to edit in as usually with your articles!
More images found on Twitter:

Erik Klemettis blog Eruptions covers Sangeang Api too:

Regarding KarenZ´s reference No. 6 commenter Bruce Stout summarized: “So what we have here is a close relative of tambora with evidence of recent magma injections and fractionation occurring at least at two levels, one below the crust in the Moho and the other in a crustal chamber. The lava is silica under-enriched (trachy-basalt) but high in potassium and volatiles making it fairly explosive stuff.”

One series of satellite images is embedded on

An article with IR images and satellite images on the event.
and some daily fail images 😉

Ash Advisory
and a wind map which shows that the ash should be blown away from Australia ( if the map is correct, i have never tried to verify it for that part of the world.),51.20,821


The remaining two riddles of the weekend shall also not be forgotten: 

4. At the end of a crack, my lava will flow-right! Clue: We could discuss this tête-à-tête. Answer: Monte Muambe, Mozambique. It’s at the south end of the great rift, and has carbonatite lava with rich fluorite inclusions. It’s in the province of Tete, near the town of Tete. No points. 

5. Sea dogs and monkey suits?  I am the newest. Clue: My magma is not very evolved, in theory. Answer: Fernandina Island. The sea dog is the HMS Beagle, and the monkey suit refers to the Scopes “Monkey Trial” over evolution leading to Darwin, and the Galapagos. Fernandina is the youngest island there. Double clue – again leading us to Darwin, plus the lava is basalt, which is not very evolved. Evan Chugg, 1 point. 


175 thoughts on “Sangeang Api, Lesser Sunda Islands, Indonesia: Eruption 30 May 2014

      • Don’t know. From the location, it could be new or it could be the previous days’ SO2 emissions dispersing. And, given that Grimsvotn had a huge SO2 plume release a week after her eruption, there might be more on the way.

  1. Human Barbie Valeria Lukyanova’s Facebook page shows a selfie of the almost 29-year-old as she is standing in her bathroom in black underwear. The latest and “most liked” comment written under the selfie by a Facebook user is likely the most symbolic one — “your out off toilet paper… just saying.”

    *it should have been “you’re” → (to placate the spelling wankers)

  2. Is someone doing a good job in Reykjavik to make sure that all of the incoming earthquakes at 100% certain. I’m glad that the earthquakes registering in as Laki’s are 27km away. The area that has been keeping me the most interested is Bardarbunga/Kistufell. Is there a possibility of a fissure event there in the future?

    • Well, it’s more likly a new one will occur in the future, it’s sort of hard to have a new one show up in the past. That is unless you have some sort of time gizmo you’re not telling us about. 😀

    • Certainly interesting.

      Let´s remember that Iceland should, if statistics of the hotspot cycle are correct, have a maximum of eruptions (both in frequency and intensity) around circa 2020 or 2030.

      So, we can expect to see at least major dike activity in most Icelandic volcanoes, especially those around the hotspot center, in Vatnajokull. Today we have observed earthquake swarms in nearly all of the Vatnajokull volcanoes. The area northeast of Bardarbunga and the area southwest of Grimsvotn being the most interesting.

      I wouldn´t be surprised by a fissure eruption occuring in one of those two spots, one of these days, even a large one. Those kind of events are what I expect to occur when the hotspot maxima occurs, along a period of a few decades. Fissures in those regions can be massive at times. At the very least they will be a repeat of the 1996 Gjálp eruption. In the worst case scenarion we would have a Laki event, partly beneath the ice cap. And as the ice cap melts, it facilitates even more an eruption.

      Then, we have Askja/Herdubreid region as another candidate for another fissure eruption. Kverfjoll is another high candidate for an eruption within the next decades.

      And Hekla and Katla. Hekla likely to erupt in soon. But Katla has been very quiet after its 2011 “eruptive” event, so I think it will probably erupt at least some several years from now.

      PS: I was this weekend at Westman islands and we went partying at a bar called volcanocafe!!!

    • Well, it is Iceland, so something will happen sooner rather than later. Some of the things will sooner rather than later be a fissure eruption. Question is more if Iceland will suffer a rifting fissure eruption in the dead zone. Hm, we will see.

      • Is it just me, or have the earthquakes seemed to have been much more active recently than they have in the past?

        I ask that honestly – I’ve been watching the quake maps in iceland a lot more recently than I used to, but it seems to me like it’s been much more common that I’ve seen “chickenpox” on the iceland quake maps than I used to.

        I just wonder how strain accumulation would affect Iceland as a whole prior to a large dead zone rifting event.

        • I would say that the amount of earthquakes (singular) has not gone up at all. And the amount of earthquakes in swarms have not really gone up either. The only trend I think there is is that there are more small to medium sized swarms occuring along the MAR from southern end of Vatnajökull up to Herdubreid, and that those swarms are showing up at peculiar places not normally associated with them. But it is not a dramatic difference at all.

          • On the other hand Katla and Godabunga is dead as doorknobs compared to what they can fire off in regards of earthquake swarms.

            • And what the hell is this anomaly? 😀 The station is just west of the swarm in SW Vatnajokull. 🙂

            • That is the distant signal from a 2M at Kistufell. The earthquake signature travelled down the fissure swarm of Bardarbunga and hit a pocket of molten or semi-molten magma near Jökulsheimar, probably left after Veidivötn. You can trace the quake even further south down the fissure swarm.

  3. I do think that it is just within a matter of time that some earthquakes shall start at Grimsvotn. The last 2 earthquakes assigned to Bardarbunga were well due east of that volcano. Maybe/Maybe not.

  4. Despite the disturbing revelation that my house is apparently accelerating… Some semi on topic info from an oblique angle.

    Part of the United States new School to Prison program.

    Honor student charged with 2 felonies for making a volcano as science experiment

    “BARTOW, FL — A 16-year-old girl was arrested and expelled from school after she demonstrating the traditional ‘erupting volcano’ in class as a science experiment. Even a year later, she is still being haunted by the multiple felonies she was charged with.

    Kiera Wilmot’s volcano was designed to demonstrate a chemical reaction simulating a volcanic eruption. Inside her volcano prop, was an 8-ounce water bottle with some toilet bowl cleaner in it. When the cleaner is exposed to aluminum, it creates an exothermic chemical reaction.”

    My country is full of idiots. Now days you can desert your post and get promoted to sergeant instead of facing a court martial.

    • Very strange – what about her professor ? Did he check something ? Is he not responsible for what the pupils are doing in class ?

    • Back in my days you got the highest grade for something like that. Then the principal sighed and called the insurance company. Feels so wrong that she is punnished for what she did.
      Wonder if we at VC can do something for her, nobody should be punnished for making a volcano in school out of toilett cleaner!

      • Well, I’m not for harrasing emails or phone calls. But giving it widespread notice is why I posted it. It gives people the full character of the individuals they may be dealing with if they interact with those cretins.

        Personally, I’ll never do business with them if presented the opportunity to do so.

      • Yes, we must help. Terrible injustice. Health and safety culture gone stark raving bonkers, compounded by inept principal at the school.

    • Sounds terrible unfair to deny her education. What kind of stupid punishment is that? Instead they should her have to learn the material safety data sheet by heart and give her some time to experiment in the safety hood, make her prepare a talk about domestic accidents with toilet cleaners, whatever, but expell her?

      Here is the main chemical reaction: 6 HCl + 2 Al -> 2 AlCl3 + 3 H2
      The hydrogen gas makes the bubbles and the result is not explosive, as long as it´s not put under pressure.

    • If you want to perform mass murder or blow something up, our idiots in Congress and the NRA make sure any and all items are available to you. But if you are a 6 year-old pretending your fingers are a play gun, you will be expelled from school. Or if the 6 year-old accidentally brought his mom’s lunch with a knife to cut the apple, he will be expelled. Common sense 101 has long gone away in the U S of A.

      • Well, I have to differ on this aspect of it. Coming straight out of “rules for radicals” is the tactic of freezing your opponent, and then maliciously attacking it. This has been used against the NRA for years. Every time I see or hear it, I toy with the idea of joining it. I always question the actions of people who wish to disarm the population. You see, an unarmed population is easier to control.

        Secondary to that, if at 3 am some criminal kicks open my door and threatens me or my family, I want to have access to a tool that will allow me to stop whoever that may be. Though quite toothy, that dog is only going to buy me so many minutes until he can no longer perform his job. I am pretty certain he won’t last until the police arrive, but If I hit the perpetrator in the chest with several ounces of high speed Pb, then it’s a matter of having good accounting of what happened, and in that case, forensics will be on my side. Home invasions can and do occur around here. In fact, my grandkid keeps having to go give testimony for one that he was one of the victims of from a few weeks ago. I would much rather have a shotgun nearby than a nail gun. But I guess if they take that away, I will have to come up with other methods of defense. I’m pretty adept at electronics, I’m not so sure whoever comes in that door will be able to handle a few thousand volts, but it might work to my favor.

  5. At the same time in Sweden…

    A 1000 pound drug crased perpetrator stormed through the window of a local school in Mölndal Sweden on monday and took the entire wood-craft class hostage together with their teacher. During the time he performed threatening acts and tried to kick the children.
    The police quickly stormed the class room and gunned down the perpetrator in a hail of bullets.
    The perpetrator is believed to have used the cylocobite mushroom drug. Prior to the attack he made a political statement in the form of a large dung heap.

    Image and video hosting by TinyPic

  6. Few quakes in the Vatnafjoll system.
    03.06.2014 14:22:59 63.922 -19.629 7.7 km -0.2 40.38 8.0 km SSE of Hekla
    03.06.2014 14:21:33 63.893 -19.663 1.2 km 0.2 99.0 10.9 km S of Hekla
    03.06.2014 14:16:11 63.905 -19.649 10.5 km 0.8 99.0 9.6 km S of Hekla
    03.06.2014 14:13:30 63.908 -19.644 9.6 km 2.5 99.0 9.4 km S of Hekl

  7. Pavlof activity has picked up quite a bit – it’s now at Red.

    The webcam is at:

    click on ‘Cold Lake’ and go to the northeast camera.

    If you click the ‘loop’ function you get a nice time lapse showing the lava at night and plume by day

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s