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Report on Kavachi (Solomon Islands) — March 2005

Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, vol. 30, no. 3 (March 2005)
Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman.

Kavachi (Solomon Islands) Eruption on 15 March 2004 breaks the water surface

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2005. Report on Kavachi (Solomon Islands). In: Wunderman, R (ed.), Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, 30:3. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.BGVN200503-255060.

Volcano Profile |  Complete Bulletin


Kavachi

Solomon Islands

8.991°S, 157.979°E; summit elev. -20 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


The Solomon Islands' goverment-supported web service, the People First Network (PFnet) reported in March 2004 that Corey Howell of The Wilderness Lodge, Gatokae Island, observed Kavachi erupting (figure 8). Kavachi is among the world's few regularly erupting submarine volcanoes that sends material above the ocean surface in witnessed (and reported) eruptions.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 8. A photo of Kavachi erupting as seen on 15 March 2004. The original caption on PFnet was "Kavachi awoke on Monday in spectacular fashion after an eight-month slumber . . .." Courtesy of Corey Howell.

The figure caption on PFnet notes an 8-month period of Kavachi inactivity, which was also confirmed in brief correspondence with Howell. A report that summarized the interval between the summer of 2001 and the end of 2003 (BGVN 29:01) lacked any mention of an eruption during mid-August 2003, eight months before the recent eruption.

Geologic Background. Named for a sea-god of the Gatokae and Vangunu peoples, Kavachi is one of the most active submarine volcanoes in the SW Pacific, located in the Solomon Islands south of Vangunu Island about 30 km N of the site of subduction of the Indo-Australian plate beneath the Pacific plate. Sometimes referred to as Rejo te Kvachi ("Kavachi's Oven"), this shallow submarine basaltic-to-andesitic volcano has produced ephemeral islands up to 1 km long many times since its first recorded eruption during 1939. Residents of the nearby islands of Vanguna and Nggatokae (Gatokae) reported "fire on the water" prior to 1939, a possible reference to earlier eruptions. The roughly conical edifice rises from water depths of 1.1-1.2 km on the north and greater depths to the SE. Frequent shallow submarine and occasional subaerial eruptions produce phreatomagmatic explosions that eject steam, ash, and incandescent bombs. On a number of occasions lava flows were observed on the ephemeral islands.

Information Contacts: Corey Howell, The Wilderness Lodge, P.O. Box 206, Homiara, Solomon Islands (URL: http://www.thewildernesslodge.org/); People First Network (PFnet), Rural Development Volunteers Association, Ministry of Provincial Government and Rural Development, PO Box 919, Honiara, Solomon Islands.