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The massive, basaltic shield volcano forming 75-km-long Upolu Island in Samoa is elongated in an E-W direction and was constructed during two periods of extensive eruptions during the Pliocene and Pleistocene. The most extensive activity during the Pleistocene took place along a 20-km segment along the central axis of the island. Following a lengthy period of erosion, the latest lava flows, at least three of which were estimated to be as young as a few hundred to a few thousand years old, were erupted from vents near the crest of the island at its center and western side (Stearns, 1944). One of the youngest flows reached the north-central coast along a roughly 1.5-km-wide front east of Vailele Bay, and another traveled down the Lefaga River channel and reached the SW coast at Lefaga Bay. Apolima Island off the western tip of Upolu is a Holocene tuff cone too young to be fringed by a coral reef, and other reef-free areas along the coastline may be formed by Holocene lava flows.
The Global Volcanism Program is not aware of any Holocene eruptions from Upolu. If this volcano has had large eruptions (VEI >= 4) prior to 10,000 years ago, information might be found on the Upolu page in the LaMEVE (Large Magnitude Explosive Volcanic Eruptions) database, a part of the Volcano Global Risk Identification and Analysis Project (VOGRIPA).
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.
|Feature Name||Feature Type||Elevation||Latitude||Longitude|
|Afolau||Cone||13° 52' 1" S||172° 0' 29" W|
|Apolima||Tuff cone||13° 49' 30" S||172° 9' 25" W|
|Fanuatapu||Tuff ring||14° 1' 1" S||171° 23' 6" W|
|Fiamoe||Cone||13° 55' 23" S||171° 47' 31" W|
|Fito||Pyroclastic cone||13° 56' 6" S||171° 43' 1" W|
|Fogalepulu||Cone||13° 58' 55" S||171° 33' 0" W|
|Laloanea||Cone||13° 55' 0" S||171° 50' 13" W|
|Lano-o-Lepa||Cone||14° 0' 11" S||171° 30' 4" W|
|Lano-o-Moa||Cone||14° 1' 41" S||171° 26' 53" W|
|Lanuata'ata||Cone||13° 54' 47" S||171° 50' 38" W|
|Lanuto'o, Lake||Cone||13° 54' 47" S||171° 49' 26" W|
|Lauti||Cone||13° 53' 0" S||171° 59' 10" W|
|Lua-o-Fafine||Cone||14° 2' 0" S||171° 27' 7" W|
|Lua-o-Tane||Cone||14° 2' 0" S||171° 26' 53" W|
|Maliota||Cone||13° 53' 17" S||171° 54' 25" W|
|Mauga Ali'i||Cone||13° 58' 19" S||171° 34' 8" W|
|Mauga-o-Savai'i||Cone||14° 0' 7" S||171° 31' 0" W|
|Monono Island||Lava cone||13° 51' 0" S||172° 7' 0" W|
|Namu'a||Tuff ring||14° 1' 23" S||171° 24' 0" W|
|Nu'ulua||Tuff ring||14° 4' 23" S||171° 23' 42" W|
|Tuff ring||14° 3' 47" S||171° 24' 29" W|
|Pue, Le||Cone||13° 56' 0" S||171° 44' 42" W|
|Seuga||Cone||13° 59' 53" S||171° 31' 55" W|
|Siga'ele||Cone||13° 54' 18" S||171° 52' 5" W|
|Taito'elau||Cone||13° 54' 0" S||171° 53' 53" W|
|Tiatala||Cone||14° 0' 0" S||171° 30' 25" W|
|Upolu, Tafua||Pyroclastic cone||13° 52' 37" S||171° 57' 43" W|
|Viatoa||Cone||13° 55' 0" S||171° 46' 0" W|
|The massive, basaltic shield volcano forming 75-km-long Upolu Island in Samoa is seen in this Space Shuttle view (with north to the upper left). The youngest lava flows, erupted after a lengthy period of erosion, originated from vents near the crest of the island and may be only a few hundred to a few thousand years old. Apolima Island, the small circular island west of reef-bounded Manono Island off the western tip of Upolu (lower right), is a Holocene tuff cone too young to be fringed by a coral reef.
NASA Space Shuttle image STS111-715-29, 2002 (http://eol.jsc.nasa.gov/).
|The forested cinder cone of Tafua Upolu rises near the western tip of 75-km-long Upolu Island in Samoa. The massive shield volcano is elongated in an E-W direction and was constructed during two periods of extensive eruptions during the Pliocene and Pleistocene. Following a lengthy period of erosion, the latest lava flows, at least three of which were estimated to be as young as a few hundred to a few thousand years old, were erupted from vents near the crest of the island at its center and western side.
Photo by Karoly Nemeth (Massey University).
The following references have all been used during the compilation of data for this volcano, it is not a comprehensive bibliography. Discussion of another volcano or eruption (sometimes far from the one that is the subject of the manuscript) may produce a citation that is not at all apparent from the title.
IAVCEI, 1973-80. Post-Miocene Volcanoes of the World. IAVCEI Data Sheets, Rome: Internatl Assoc Volc Chemistry Earth's Interior..
Kear D, Wood B L, 1959. The geology and hydrology of western Samoa. New Zeal Geol Surv Bull, 63: 1-92.
Nemeth K, Cronin S J, Lolo F, Leavasa M, Solomona D S, Nelson F, 2007. Volcanic evolution, oral traditions of volcanism of Western Samoa (SW Pacific) and their volcanic hazard implications. Geol Soc New Zeal, New Zeal Geophys Soc Joint Annual Conf, Prog Abs, p 113.
Stearns H T, 1944. Geology of the Samoan Islands. Geol Soc Amer Bull, 55: 1279-1332.