SO2 and tephra emissions during the December 22, 2018 Anak Krakatau eruption

Main Article Content

Mathieu Gouhier Raphaël Paris


On December 22, 2018 the south-western flank of Anak Krakatau collapsed into the sea, removing 93.8 × 106 m3 of subaerial lavas, and generated a tsunami. Synchronously with the collapse, a large volcanic plume of SO2 and ash (14–15 km in height) has formed, marking the onset of a paroxysmal eruption lasting from December 22, 2018 to January 06, 2019. From remote sensing analysis, we show that the eruption can be divided into three main phases. Phase I and II show both tephra and gas emissions while phase III is mostly degassing. The total amount of SO2 injected in the atmosphere is 173±52 kt, while the minimum bulk magma volume emplaced, estimated from a topographic reconstruction, is ∼45 × 106 m3. This value compares well with a petrologic-based estimate of 56.4 × 106 m3, making the existence of external sulphur sources and sinks quite unlikely. The ice-rich ash plume formation shows that a strong sea-water/magma interaction was responsible for the phreatomagmatic activity throughout the eruption. However, we distinguish a first Vulcanian blast-derived eruption (lasting 40 min) just after the collapse having a Mass Eruption Rate (MER) of 9 × 105 kgs−1, followed by a sustained lower-intensity eruption resulting in ash emissions over hours (MER = 5 × 105 kgs−1). From December 23, daytime photos show typical Surtseyan activity.


Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

How to Cite
Gouhier, M. and Paris, R. (2019) “SO2 and tephra emissions during the December 22, 2018 Anak Krakatau eruption”, Volcanica, 2(2), pp. 91 - 103. doi: