Volcano Notification Service

Table of contents


The U.S. Geological Survey Volcano Hazards Program Volcano Notification Service is a customizable system provided free to everyone. You can receive volcano notifications for any volcanoes monitored by United States volcano observatories. Notifications are generally available within five minutes after they are released.


On the entry page to the VNS, at http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/vns/, click the Subscribe to VNS link.

You will be taken to a page with the following form:

Username This can be any username you want to use. If the username has already been taken, you will receive a message when you submit the form, and will be given the opportunity to choose another username.

Email This email address will be the primary email address associated with your account. After clicking subscribe, the address entered will be sent an email containing a link to confirm the address. You will have an opportunity to enter additional email addresses using the Email Addresses section once you register.

Password/Confirm Enter a password twice, once in each box. This will allow you to login and manage your account.

Subscribe Clicking subscribe will create your account, then log you into VNS.

Managing Your Email Addresses

Click on the My Email Addresses link on the VNS menu to show the list of email addresses you have registered with VNS.
VNS email left navigation menu.

To register a new email address, simply enter the email address into the text field and click Register address. An email will be sent to the address, providing a link to confirm the address.

After you have entered your email addresses, a list of those addresses awaiting confirmation will be displayed.

To resend the confirmation email, just click the Resend code button. If you want to remove that address, click the Remove button.

All confirmed email addresses you have registered with VNS are displayed on the email addresses page.

An active email address will be sent VNS emails, an inactive address will not be sent any messages. Under email type, you have two choices: html and plaintext. Plaintext emails do not contain any html markup; either type will display the message correctly. If you wish to remove an address, just click the Remove Address button.

Selecting Volcanoes

To receive messages about volcanic activity from the VNS, you must select the volcanoes that you are interested in. Clicking My Volcanoes in the left menu will bring you to a Google-map based page, showing volcanoes covered by the VNS. If the map doesn't work, you can use the text-based interface to select volcanoes: the link is beneath the map (circled in red below).

On the map driven page, a list of six regions is located on the left hand side, under the menu.

Clicking on a region will zoom the map to that particular region, as well as bring up a list of volcanoes underneath the list of regions.

* Default selection is for all volcanoes. Therefore, to select only single volcanoes, click "Remove" next to "All (region) Volcanoes" then proceed to selecting individual volcanoes in each region.

To select an individual volcano, either click on a volcano in the regional list, or click the volcano's icon on the map. This will add the particular volcano to your subscription list. If you wish to receive updates for all the volcanoes in a particular area, just click the Any ..range.. volcano link in the volcano list.

By default, you will be sent emails about a volcano when information is released for that volcano. If you only want to receive emails for a volcano when it has a specific alert level and color code, click the Edit link next to the volcano's name in your selected volcanoes list.

When editing preferences for a specific volcano, you will be presented with a form similar to the following:

Here you can make changes to only receive emails when the specified volcano is at a particular alert level and color code.

Notification Types

The volcano observatories in the US currently use several different notification types when sending out information on volcanic activity. To choose which of these (any or all) notification types you want to receive, click My Notifiction Types in the left menu.

Click here for an explanation of color codes and alert levels used in these messages

There are three main categories of notifications: Event-Driven, Time-Driven, and General Information Statements.

  1. Event driven messages are urgent, formal notifications of significant volcanic activity, alert level changes at a single volcano, and significant activity with no change in alert levels. People reading them may need to take action quickly. They are distinctive in format, and consistent across volcano observatories.

    Each event-driven message comes in two flavors: a VAN (Volcano Activity Notification), and a VONA (Volcano Observatory Notice for Aviation). The VAN's target audience is all potentially affected or interested parties, while the VONA is geared towards aviation users.

  2. Time driven messages are daily, weekly, and monthly reports that summarize the status and level of activity of a volcano or group of volcanoes when activity has not changed significantly.
  3. General information statements cover everything that does not fit into the above two categories. Examples include expanded background commentary, summaries, scenarios or forecasts, announcements of new volcano monitoring benchmarks, and operational changes.