Gamalama, Halmahera, Indonesia

Location: 0.8N, 127.3E
Elevation: 1,715 m
Last updated: January 26, 2004


November 4, 2003

On October 13, the Alert Level was reduced from 2 to 1 as a result of decreased volcanic activity. Gas emissions rose ~50 m high and more normal numbers of daily earthquakes were reported.

This information was summarized from the GVP/USGS Weekly Volcanic Activity Report


August 5, 2003

The Alert Level was raised to 3 (on a scale of 1-4) after an explosion at 14:00 on July 31st that produced an ash column rising 0.5-1 km above the volcano and drifting E. Another explosion occurred at 14:39 that rose to 1-1.5 km above the volcano, and deposited ash in the town of Ternate ~30 km N of the volcano. The next large explosion occurred at 16:25 and ejected incandescent material, produced a 1-2 km high ash column and a pyroclastic flow that traveled ~1 km into the Togorara Valley. The Alert Level was then raised to 4 and some nearby residents were evacuated. A last explosion occurred at 1704 that produced an ash cloud to 1-1.5 km above the volcano. Since, low-level ash and gas emissions occurred through August 1st.

This information was summarized from the GVP/USGS Weekly Volcanic Activity Report

 


Traversing the Mt. Gamalama crater on Ternate Island. Noxious volcanic gases being emitted from the crater. May 1997 - Photograph copyrighted and provided by Dan Olberg, Senior Geologist, PT Nusa Halmahera Minerals.

Gamalama (also called Peak of Ternate) is a stratovolcano with multiple craters and crater lakes. Gamalama forms an island about 11 km in diameter. Small to moderate explosive eruptions are frequent with 70 known eruptions since 1538. Several eruptions have produced lava flows or mudflows. Six eruptions have caused fatalities. Glowing ash and rock killed 30-40 slaves during the 1771-1772 eruption. In 1773, several people drowned as overloaded boats fled from an eruption. During a maar-forming eruption in 1775, about 1,300 people were killed by pyroclastic flows or surges. In 1838, four sulfur collectors died in the crater. In 1871, a block fell on and killed a man. Five people were killed and five injured at Gamalama in 1962. The most recent eruption was in 1993.

Since 1538, Gamalama has erupted explosively at least 57 times. The most recent eruption was in 1993 and lasted about 2 weeks. The eruptions are commonly moderate to moderately large (VEI=2-3). Six eruptions have caused fatalities. In 1775, a maar -forming eruption on the north coast of the volcano produced a base surge that killed 141 people. In all, about 1,300 people died in this eruption. Gamalama erupted in October of 1994, creating a 1,000 foot (300 m) tall plume and depositing a thin layer of ash on nearby villages. No one was injured. Photo by Jack Lockwood, U.S. Geological Survey, October 31, 1982.


Laguna maar on Gamalama. View is to the south.
Photo by Jack Lockwood, U.S. Geological Survey, November 5, 1982.


Mt. Gamalama rising above the city of Ternate. A small eruption plume is visible, causing hazy conditions in the area. View from the south. December 1994 - Photograph copyrighted and provided by Dan Olgerg, Senior Geologist, PT Nusa Halmhera Minerals.


Mt. Gamalama viewed from the east on Halmahera Island.January 1995 - Photograph copyrighted and provided by Dan Olberg, Senior Geologist, PT Nusa Halmhera Minerals.


Smoking Mt. Gamalama as viewed from the east side of Ternate Island at the airport. The edges of the two old craters can be seen as small lumps to the left of the active cone. April 1996 - Photograph copyrighted and provided by Dan Olberg, Senior Geologist, PT Nusa Halmhera Minerals.


Mt. Gamalama on Ternate Island as viewed from the dormant summit crater of neighboring Tidore (Mt. Kiemtabu). The small volcanoic island between Tidore and Ternate is Maitara. July 1997 - Photograph copyrighted and provided by Dan Olberg, Senior Geologist, PT Nusa Halmhera Minerals.


The cloud capped summit of Mt. Gamalama on Ternate Island. A relatively recent lava flow can be seen fingering into the sea on the north side of the island. May 2000 - Photograph copyrighted and provided by Bruce Gemmell, University of Tasmania.


Source of Information:

Bronto, S., Hadisantono, R.D., Lockwood, J.P., 1982, Geologic map of Gamalama volcano, Ternate, North Maluku: Volc. Surv. Indonesia: 1:25,000 geol map and text.

Lockwood, J.P., Melson, W.G., Lanphere, M.A., and bronto, S., 1981, Petrology and eruptive characteristics of Gamalama volcano, Ternate Island, Indonesia (abs): IAVCEI, Tokyo Mtg. Abstracts, p. 207.

McClelland, L., Simkin, T., Summers, M., Nielsen, E., and Stein, T.C., 1989, Global Volcanism 1975-1985: Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, Prentice Hall, 655 p.

Simkin, T., and Siebert, L., 1994, Volcanoes of the World: Geoscience Press, Tucson, Arizona, 349 p.

Smithsonian Institution's Global Volcanism Network, 1995, Summary of Recent Activity: Bulletin of Volcanology, v. 57, p. 73-75.


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