Report on Saunders (United Kingdom) — 12 October-18 October 2005
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 12 October-18 October 2005
Managing Editor: Gari Mayberry
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2005. Report on Saunders (United Kingdom). In: Mayberry, G (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 12 October-18 October 2005. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
57.8°S, 26.483°W; summit elev. 843 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
The first MODVOLC alerts at Mount Michael since May 2003 recently began, indicating an increased level of activity in the island's summit crater (and presumed lava lake). The alerts occurred on 3, 5, and 6 October.
Geologic Background. Saunders Island is a volcanic structure consisting of a large central edifice intersected by two seamount chains, as shown by bathymetric mapping (Leat et al., 2013). The young constructional Mount Michael stratovolcano dominates the glacier-covered island, while two submarine plateaus, Harpers Bank and Saunders Bank, extend north. The symmetrical Michael has a 500-m-wide summit crater and a remnant of a somma rim to the SE. Tephra layers visible in ice cliffs surrounding the island are evidence of recent eruptions. Ash clouds were reported from the summit crater in 1819, and an effusive eruption was inferred to have occurred from a N-flank fissure around the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century. A low ice-free lava platform, Blackstone Plain, is located on the north coast, surrounding a group of former sea stacks. A cluster of parasitic cones on the SE flank, the Ashen Hills, appear to have been modified since 1820 (LeMasurier and Thomson, 1990). Vapor emission is frequently reported from the summit crater. Recent AVHRR and MODIS satellite imagery has revealed evidence for lava lake activity in the summit crater.