Curacoa

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  • Country
  • Volcanic Region
  • Primary Volcano Type
  • Last Known Eruption
  • 15.62°S
  • 173.67°W

  • -33 m
    -108 ft

  • 243102
  • Latitude
  • Longitude

  • Summit
    Elevation

  • Volcano
    Number

Most Recent Bulletin Report: December 1979 (SEAN 04:12) Cite this Report


Eruption site between Tafahi and Curacao Reef generates black plume

Further details from Tongan authorities indicated that submarine activity reported by a fisherman occurred 14 May about 13 km N of Tafahi at the N end of the Tonga Islands. [This location is 14 km S of Curacoa Reef]. Thick black "smoke" reached a height of about 100 m, and the eruption may have been rhythmic or spasmodic. At about the same time, a small earthquake was felt on Nuiatoputapu, ~25 km from the eruption site.

Information Contacts: D. Woodhall and R. Richmond, Mineral Resources Dept., Fiji; D. Tuni, Ministry of Natural Resources, Solomon Islands.

The Global Volcanism Program has no Weekly Reports available for Curacoa.

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.

07/1973 (CSLP 94-73) Steam and boiling water; pumice belt

08/1973 (CSLP 94-73) No evidence of activity during aerial reconnaissance on 29 July

06/1979 (SEAN 04:06) Fisherman sees eruption on 14 May

12/1979 (SEAN 04:12) Eruption site between Tafahi and Curacao Reef generates black plume




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


July 1973 (CSLP 94-73)


Steam and boiling water; pumice belt

Card 1679 (19 July 1973) Steam and boiling water seen from aircraft

"American Airlines Flight No. 202, from Nandi, Fiji, to Pago Pago, reports what appears to be volcanic action in the area 15°20' S, 173°55' W (15.33°S, 173.92°W), approximately 240 km SW of American Samoa, on a direct line from Nandi to Pago Pago. The activity is centered around Curacoa Reef. The aircraft reports that it appears to be a 'gigantic oil spill,' with water boiling up and steam."

Card 1685 (27 July 1973) Pumice belt is 13 km wide and 30-45 cm deep

"The ship Union South Pacific reports a pumice belt 13 km wide running northward from the position 15°56' S, 175°52' W (15.93°S, 175.87°W) for at least 16 km. The measured depth of the pumice was 30-45 cm. The ship entered this belt at about 1100 GMT, 25 July, at 15°55' S, 175°52' W (15.92°S, 175.87°W)."

Information Contacts: Card 1679 (19 July 1973) Donald Graf, Government Ecologist, Government of American Samoa, Pago Pago, American Samoa 96799 USA.
Card 1685 (27 July 1973) J.H. Latter, c/o DSIR Geophysics Division, P.O. Box 8005, Wellington, New Zealand.


August 1973 (CSLP 94-73)


No evidence of activity during aerial reconnaissance on 29 July

Card 1694 (13 August 1973) No evidence of activity during aerial reconnaissance on 29 July

"On Sunday, July 29 we flew from Tutuila to the Island of Tafahi in the upper Tongan group and due N to Curacoa Reef and then due W to the Island of Niua Fo`ou and then to Tutuila. No evidence of volcanic activity in the area of Curacoa Reef was sighted and we did not spot the cinder patch in the area of Niua Fo`ou.

"The lack of volcanic activity is not surprising, for this is no doubt an intermittent activity. There are three possibilities for the cinder patch: 1) Cinders absorbed water and sank, 2) dissipated by wave action, and 3) drifted beyond the range of the aircraft we were using. I believe the last one would be the most probable, the second to be possible, and the first to be highly improbable."

Information Contacts: Donald Graf, Government Ecologist, Government of American Samoa, Pago Pago, American Samoa 96799 USA.


June 1979 (SEAN 04:06) Cite this Report


Fisherman sees eruption on 14 May

A fisherman saw an eruption near Tafahi (14.85°S, 173.75°W) on 14 May, the only day he was in the area.

Information Contacts: R. Richmond, Mineral Resources Dept., Fiji; J. Latter, DSIR, Wellington; S. Tongilava, Lands Survey and Natural Resources, Tonga; R. Jones, Air Tonga.


December 1979 (SEAN 04:12) Cite this Report


Eruption site between Tafahi and Curacao Reef generates black plume

Further details from Tongan authorities indicated that submarine activity reported by a fisherman occurred 14 May about 13 km N of Tafahi at the N end of the Tonga Islands. [This location is 14 km S of Curacoa Reef]. Thick black "smoke" reached a height of about 100 m, and the eruption may have been rhythmic or spasmodic. At about the same time, a small earthquake was felt on Nuiatoputapu, ~25 km from the eruption site.

Information Contacts: D. Woodhall and R. Richmond, Mineral Resources Dept., Fiji; D. Tuni, Ministry of Natural Resources, Solomon Islands.

Basic Data

Volcano Number

Last Known Eruption

Elevation

Latitude
Longitude
243102

1979 CE

-33 m / -108 ft

15.62°S
173.67°W

Volcano Types

Submarine

Rock Types

Major
Dacite

Tectonic Setting

Subduction zone
Oceanic crust (< 15 km)

Population

Within 5 km
Within 10 km
Within 30 km
Within 100 km
0
0
37
1,755

Geological Summary

A submarine volcano south of Curacoa Reef at the northern end of the Tofua volcanic arc was first observed in eruption in 1973. Explosive eruptions, which produced large rafts of dacitic pumice covering an area of more than 100 sq km, were observed from the island of Tafahi, 27 km to the SSW. The eruption site was located about 6.5 km SW of Curacoa Reef. Multiple submarine vents are apparently located in this area; a second eruption was reported in 1979 from a location 13 km north of Tafahi.

References

The following references have all been used during the compilation of data for this volcano, it is not a comprehensive bibliography.

Simkin T, 1977. (pers. comm.).

Smithsonian Institution-CSLP, 1968-75. [Event notification cards]. Center for Short-Lived Phenomena (CSLP) Event Cards.

Taylor P W, Ewart A, 1997. The Tofua Volcanic Arc, Tonga, SW Pacific: a review of historic volcanic activity. Aust Volc Invest Occ Rpt, 97/01: 1-58.

Eruptive History


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


Start Date Stop Date Eruption Certainty VEI Evidence Activity Area or Unit
1979 May 14 Unknown Confirmed 1 Historical Observations 13 km north of Tafahi
1973 Jul 11 1973 Jul 16 Confirmed 3 Historical Observations 6.4 km SW of Curacoa Reef

This compilation of synonyms and subsidiary features may not be comprehensive. Features are organized into four major categories: Cones, Craters, Domes, and Thermal Features. Synonyms of features appear indented below the primary name. In some cases additional feature type, elevation, or location details are provided.


Synonyms

Shachi

Photo Gallery


A raft of floating pumice from a July 1973 submarine eruption closes behind the wake of a ship. This was the first report of an eruption from the Curacoa submarine volcano in the northern Tonga Islands. The pumice raft covered an area of more than 100 sq km and was encountered by a ship 200 km to the west nearly two weeks after the start of the eruption. Another eruption was observed in the same general area in 1979.

Photo by the crew of the vessel "Port Nicholson," 1973 (courtesy of Tom Simkin, Smithsonian Institution).

Smithsonian Sample Collections Database


A listing of samples from the Smithsonian collections will be available soon.

Affiliated Sites

Large Eruptions of Curacoa Information about large Quaternary eruptions (VEI >= 4) is cataloged in the Large Magnitude Explosive Volcanic Eruptions (LaMEVE) database of the Volcano Global Risk Identification and Analysis Project (VOGRIPA).
WOVOdat WOVOdat is a database of volcanic unrest; instrumentally and visually recorded changes in seismicity, ground deformation, gas emission, and other parameters from their normal baselines. It is sponsored by the World Organization of Volcano Observatories (WOVO) and presently hosted at the Earth Observatory of Singapore.
EarthChem EarthChem develops and maintains databases, software, and services that support the preservation, discovery, access and analysis of geochemical data, and facilitate their integration with the broad array of other available earth science parameters. EarthChem is operated by a joint team of disciplinary scientists, data scientists, data managers and information technology developers who are part of the NSF-funded data facility Integrated Earth Data Applications (IEDA). IEDA is a collaborative effort of EarthChem and the Marine Geoscience Data System (MGDS).
MODVOLC - HIGP MODIS Thermal Alert System Using infrared satellite Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) data, scientists at the Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology, University of Hawai'i, developed an automated system called MODVOLC to map thermal hot-spots in near real time. For each MODIS image, the algorithm automatically scans each 1 km pixel within it to check for high-temperature hot-spots. When one is found the date, time, location, and intensity are recorded. MODIS looks at every square km of the Earth every 48 hours, once during the day and once during the night, and the presence of two MODIS sensors in space allows at least four hot-spot observations every two days. Each day updated global maps are compiled to display the locations of all hot spots detected in the previous 24 hours. There is a drop-down list with volcano names which allow users to 'zoom-in' and examine the distribution of hot-spots at a variety of spatial scales.
MIROVA Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity (MIROVA) is a near real time volcanic hot-spot detection system based on the analysis of MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) data. In particular, MIROVA uses the Middle InfraRed Radiation (MIR), measured over target volcanoes, in order to detect, locate and measure the heat radiation sourced from volcanic activity.