Curtis Island

Photo of this volcano
  • Country
  • Volcanic Region
  • Primary Volcano Type
  • Last Known Eruption
  • 30.543°S
  • 178.556°W

  • 47 m
    154 ft

  • 242010
  • Latitude
  • Longitude

  • Summit
    Elevation

  • Volcano
    Number

Most Recent Bulletin Report: February 2009 (BGVN 34:02) Citation IconCite this Report


Acoustic data indicates possible nearby volcanic activity

Olivier Hyvernaud reported that recent T-phase waves, recorded by the Laboratoire de Géophysique in Tahiti, originated from near Curtis Island (figure 1) and had waveforms suggesting a volcanic origin. The first of these hydroacoustic waves recorded on the Polynesian seismic network were a brief swarm of seven short strong events on 17 January 2009. On that day the network received the signals between 1706 and 1717 UTC. In addition, a single event was received 19 January 2009 at 0753 UTC. The best preliminary location for these events was 30.49°S, 178.55°W, a position 5-6 km NNE of Curtis Island and well within the area of the larger caldera structure.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. Satellite imagery showing Curtis and Cheeseman Islands (inset) along the Kermadec Island chain north of New Zealand. Curtis Island is approximately 900 km NE of New Zealand. Volcano locations from GVP database. Inset map image acquired 10-11 May 2006 by DigitalGlobe. Imagery courtesy of Google Earth.

On the New Zealand GNS Science website there is a brief discussion and two photos of Curtis Island, noting a short visit there, thermal activity, nearby mineral-rich volcanoes, and that it lies adjacent to a chain of submarine volcanoes (eg. Smith, 1988). They also stated "The benefit in studying this remote outcrop is the insight it gives into the composition of these underwater vents, while being relatively straightforward to measure in comparison."

On 1 April 2009 Brad Scott (GNS) added that they were not aware of any activity at this time. The island is remote and GNS personnel do not visit on a regular basis. The activity on the island is solfataric. He also noted that the island is composed of pyroclastic-flow (ignimbrites) deposits from an unknown nearby source.

No thermal alerts have been measured by the MODVOLC system for Curtis Island since at least the beginning of 2004 and through 1 April 2009.

References. Smith, I., 1988, The geochemistry of rock and water samples from Curtis Island volcano, Kermadec group, southwest Pacific: Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, v. 34, no. 3-4, p. 233-240.

Information Contacts: GNS Science, Wairakei Research Centre, Private Bag 2000, Taupo 3352, New Zealand (URL: http://www.gns.cri.nz/); Olivier Hyvernaud, Laboratoire de Géophysique, Commissariat ? l'Energie Atomique (CEA/DASE/LDG), PO Box 640, Papeete, Tahiti, French Polynesia (Email: hyvernaud@labogeo.pf); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://hotspot.higp.hawaii.edu/).

The Global Volcanism Program has no Weekly Reports available for Curtis Island.

Bulletin Reports - Index


Reports are organized chronologically and indexed below by Month/Year (Publication Volume:Number), and include a one-line summary. Click on the index link or scroll down to read the reports.

02/2009 (BGVN 34:02) Acoustic data indicates possible nearby volcanic activity




Information is preliminary and subject to change. All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


February 2009 (BGVN 34:02) Citation IconCite this Report


Acoustic data indicates possible nearby volcanic activity

Olivier Hyvernaud reported that recent T-phase waves, recorded by the Laboratoire de Géophysique in Tahiti, originated from near Curtis Island (figure 1) and had waveforms suggesting a volcanic origin. The first of these hydroacoustic waves recorded on the Polynesian seismic network were a brief swarm of seven short strong events on 17 January 2009. On that day the network received the signals between 1706 and 1717 UTC. In addition, a single event was received 19 January 2009 at 0753 UTC. The best preliminary location for these events was 30.49°S, 178.55°W, a position 5-6 km NNE of Curtis Island and well within the area of the larger caldera structure.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. Satellite imagery showing Curtis and Cheeseman Islands (inset) along the Kermadec Island chain north of New Zealand. Curtis Island is approximately 900 km NE of New Zealand. Volcano locations from GVP database. Inset map image acquired 10-11 May 2006 by DigitalGlobe. Imagery courtesy of Google Earth.

On the New Zealand GNS Science website there is a brief discussion and two photos of Curtis Island, noting a short visit there, thermal activity, nearby mineral-rich volcanoes, and that it lies adjacent to a chain of submarine volcanoes (eg. Smith, 1988). They also stated "The benefit in studying this remote outcrop is the insight it gives into the composition of these underwater vents, while being relatively straightforward to measure in comparison."

On 1 April 2009 Brad Scott (GNS) added that they were not aware of any activity at this time. The island is remote and GNS personnel do not visit on a regular basis. The activity on the island is solfataric. He also noted that the island is composed of pyroclastic-flow (ignimbrites) deposits from an unknown nearby source.

No thermal alerts have been measured by the MODVOLC system for Curtis Island since at least the beginning of 2004 and through 1 April 2009.

References. Smith, I., 1988, The geochemistry of rock and water samples from Curtis Island volcano, Kermadec group, southwest Pacific: Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, v. 34, no. 3-4, p. 233-240.

Information Contacts: GNS Science, Wairakei Research Centre, Private Bag 2000, Taupo 3352, New Zealand (URL: http://www.gns.cri.nz/); Olivier Hyvernaud, Laboratoire de Géophysique, Commissariat ? l'Energie Atomique (CEA/DASE/LDG), PO Box 640, Papeete, Tahiti, French Polynesia (Email: hyvernaud@labogeo.pf); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://hotspot.higp.hawaii.edu/).

Eruptive History


Summary of Holocene eruption dates and Volcanic Explosivity Indices (VEI).


Start Date Stop Date Eruption Certainty VEI Evidence Activity Area or Unit
[ 2009 Jan 18 ] [ 2009 Jan 19 ] Uncertain 0   5-6 km NNE of Curtis Island
[ 1936 Jun 18 ] [ 1936 Dec ] Uncertain    
[ 1899 ] [ Unknown ] Discredited    

The Global Volcanism Program has no synonyms or subfeatures listed for Curtis Island.

Photo Gallery


Flat-topped 137-m-high Curtis Island, seen here from the north, is, along with nearby Cheeseman Island, the uplifted portion of a submarine volcano astride the Kermadec Ridge. The small Pleistocene islands consist mostly of andesitic pyroclastic-flow deposits. Reports of possible historical eruptions probably represent increased thermal activity from a shallow crater near sea level. Geologic studies have documented a remarkable uplift of 18 m of Curtis Island during the past 200 years.

Photo by Owen Calder, 2004
See title for photo information.

Smithsonian Sample Collections Database


There are no samples for Curtis Island in the Smithsonian's NMNH Department of Mineral Sciences Rock and Ore collection.

Affiliated Sites