Saba

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  • Country
  • Volcanic Region
  • Primary Volcano Type
  • Last Known Eruption
  • 17.63°N
  • 63.23°W

  • 887 m
    2909 ft

  • 360010
  • Latitude
  • Longitude

  • Summit
    Elevation

  • Volcano
    Number

Most Recent Bulletin Report: May 1992 (BGVN 17:05)


Seismic swarm

A high-frequency seismic swarm began at the volcano on 4 June, peaking on 10-11 June, and centered along a roughly NE-SW zone 20 km long (figure 1). Of the numerous earthquakes recorded by the regional seismic network (most stations are E or S of the island), 12 were locatable. These events were concentrated at ~8 km depth (1-65 km depth range) and had magnitudes between 2.9 and 4.4 (the largest, at 27 km depth, was recorded at 0148 on 11 June). Several earthquakes were felt by island residents, but there were no reports of damage or injuries. On 13 June, a portable 3-component seismograph was installed on the island, previously uninstrumented, to supplement the regional seismic network, but activity declined, and only two additional events had been located as of 16 June.

Figure 1. Epicenter map of 12 earthquakes near Saba, 4-16 June 1992. Courtesy of the Seismic Research Unit, UWI.

Information Contacts: L. Lynch, UWI; A. Smith, Univ of Puerto Rico.

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

Index of Bulletin Reports


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.

05/1992 (BGVN 17:05) Seismic swarm




Bulletin Reports

All information contained in these reports is preliminary and subject to change.


05/1992 (BGVN 17:05) Seismic swarm

A high-frequency seismic swarm began at the volcano on 4 June, peaking on 10-11 June, and centered along a roughly NE-SW zone 20 km long (figure 1). Of the numerous earthquakes recorded by the regional seismic network (most stations are E or S of the island), 12 were locatable. These events were concentrated at ~8 km depth (1-65 km depth range) and had magnitudes between 2.9 and 4.4 (the largest, at 27 km depth, was recorded at 0148 on 11 June). Several earthquakes were felt by island residents, but there were no reports of damage or injuries. On 13 June, a portable 3-component seismograph was installed on the island, previously uninstrumented, to supplement the regional seismic network, but activity declined, and only two additional events had been located as of 16 June.

Figure 1. Epicenter map of 12 earthquakes near Saba, 4-16 June 1992. Courtesy of the Seismic Research Unit, UWI.

Information Contacts: L. Lynch, UWI; A. Smith, Univ of Puerto Rico.
Download or Cite this Report

Saba, the northernmost active volcano of the West Indies, is a small 5-km-diameter island forming the upper half of a large stratovolcano that rises 1500 m above the sea floor. Its eruptive history is characterized by the emplacement of lava domes and associated pyroclastic flows. The summit of the volcano, known as Mount Scenery (or The Mountain), is a Holocene lava dome that overtops a major collapse scarp that formed about 100,000 years ago. Flank domes were constructed on the SW, SE, east, and NE sides of the island near the coast. A large andesitic lava flow entered the sea on the NE flank, forming the Flat Point Peninsula, the only site level enough on which to locate the island's airport. The village of The Bottom overlies pyroclastic-surge deposits that contain European pottery fragments and were radiocarbon dated at 280 +/- 80 years before present. The village was settled in 1640 on grassy meadows on the volcano's flanks reflecting initial vegetation recovery following destruction of tropical rainforests by pyroclastic flows and surges. Lava dome growth may also have occurred during this SW-flank eruption.

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

Start Date Stop Date Eruption Certainty VEI Evidence Activity Area or Unit
1640 (in or before) Unknown Confirmed   Historical Observations SW flank

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.


Domes

Feature Name Feature Type Elevation Latitude Longitude
Booby Hill Dome
Bottom Hill Dome
Bunker Hill Dome
Great Hill Dome 431 m 17° 38' 0" N 63° 15' 0" W
Kelbey's Ridge Dome
Kelbey's Ridge Dome
Level, The Dome 523 m 17° 38' 0" N 63° 13' 0" W
Mary's Point Mountain Dome
Maskhorne Hill Dome
Old Booby Hill Dome 230 m 17° 38' 0" N 63° 13' 0" W
Parish Hill Dome
Peak Hill Dome
Peter Simmon's Hill Dome 500 m
Scenery, Mount Dome 887 m 17° 38' 0" N 63° 14' 0" W
St. John's Flat
    Saint John's Flat
Dome
Thais Hill Dome
Torrens Point Dome
Troy Dome

Thermal

Feature Name Feature Type Elevation Latitude Longitude
Well Bay Hot Spring Hot Spring
Mt. Scenery, the summit lava dome of Saba volcano, is seen from the airport on the NE side of the island. The sun-dappled slopes in the foreground are the surface of a large andesitic lava flow that descends the NE flank of the volcano and forms the Flat Point Peninsula, on which the airport was constructed. A steep switch-backed road extends from the airport to the village of Lower Hells Gate (center). Saba is the northernmost active volcano of the West Indies.

Photo by John Shepherd, 2000 (Seismic Research Unit, University of West Indies).

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.

Baker P E, Buckley F, Padfield T, 1980. Petrology of the volcanic rocks of Saba, West Indies. Bull Volc, 43: 337-346.

Defant M J, Sherman S, Maury R C, Bellon H, de Boer J, Davidson J, Kepezhinskas P, 2001. The geology, petrology, and petrogenesis of Saba Island, Lesser Antilles. J Volc Geotherm Res, 107: 87-111.

Lindsay J M, Robertson R E A, Shepherd J B, Ali S (eds), 2005a. Volcanic Hazard Atlas of the Lesser Antilles. Trinidad and Tobago, Seismic Res Unit, Univ West Indies, 279 p.

Robson G R, Tomblin J, 1966. West Indies. Catalog of Active Volcanoes of the World and Solfatara Fields, Rome: IAVCEI, 20: 1-56.

Roobol M J, Smith A L, 1989. Volcanic and associated hazards in the Lesser Antilles. In: Latter J H (ed), {Volcanic Hazards - Assessment and Monitoring}, Berlin: Springer-Verlag, p 57-85.

Roobol M J, Smith A L, 2004. Volcanology of Saba and St. Eustatius, northern Lesser Antilles. Amsterdam: Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Letters, 320 p.

Shepherd J B, 2001. Volcanoes of the eastern Caribbean: past activity and future hazards. Paper presented at the Workshop on Volcanic and Seismic Hazards in the eastern Caribbean, May 28- June 1, 2001, 57 p.

Smith A L, Roobol M J, 2005a. Saba. In: Lindsay J M, Robertson R E A, Shepherd J B, Ali S (eds). {Volcanic Hazard Atlas of the Lesser Antilles}, Trinidad and Tobago, Seismic Res Unit, Univ West Indies, p 179-190.

Volcano Types

Stratovolcano
Lava dome(s)

Tectonic Setting

Subduction zone
Oceanic crust (< 15 km)

Rock Types

Major
Andesite / Basaltic Andesite
Basalt / Picro-Basalt
Minor
Dacite

Population

Within 5 km
Within 10 km
Within 30 km
Within 100 km
1,718
1,718
1,752
136,185

Affiliated Databases

Large Eruptions of Saba 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).
Smithsonian Collections Search the Smithsonian's NMNH Department of Mineral Sciences collections database. Go to the "Search Rocks and Ores" tab and use the Volcano Name drop-down to find samples.