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Report on Kavachi (Solomon Islands) — June 2021


Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, vol. 46, no. 6 (June 2021)
Managing Editor: Edward Venzke. Edited by Kadie L. Bennis.

Kavachi (Solomon Islands) Discolored water plumes observed in satellite imagery during October 2020-April 2021

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2021. Report on Kavachi (Solomon Islands) (Bennis, K.L., and Venzke, E., eds.). Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, 46:6. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.BGVN202106-255060


Solomon Islands

8.991°S, 157.979°E; summit elev. -20 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

Kavachi is an active submarine volcano in the SW Pacific, located in the Solomon Islands south of Gatokae and Vangunu islands. Volcanism has been characterized by phreatomagmatic explosions that ejected steam, ash, and incandescent bombs. The previous report described discolored plumes extending from a single point during early September 2020 (BGVN 45:10); similar activity was recorded for this reporting period covering October 2020 through April 2021 using satellite data.

Activity at Kavachi is most frequently observed through Sentinel-2 satellite imagery and has recently been characterized by discolored submarine plumes. On 2 October 2020 a slight yellow-green discoloration in the water was observed extending NE from a specific point (figure 23). Similar faint discolored plumes were intermittently recorded on 27 October, 1 November 2020, and 25 January 2021, which each extended NE, SW, and SW, respectively, from a point source above the summit where previous activity has occurred. Intermittent discolored plumes were also visible during March 2021 (figure 24). The plume discoloration on 1 March extended S from the origin point. On 11 March, the discoloration remained near the origin point. A narrow plume extended several kilometers W on 26 March, followed by a short plume seen towards the NW on 31 March. The only plume seen in April was a broad diffuse area of discoloration extending S on the 10th (figure 24). No discoloration near the volcano was observed in May.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 23. Sentinel-2 satellite images of a discolored plume (light yellow-green) at Kavachi beginning on 2 October 2020 (top left) that extended NE. Additional plumes were visible during clear weather on 27 October (top right) that extended NE, on 1 November (bottom left) 2020 that extended SW, and strongly on 25 January 2021 (bottom right) that extended SW. Images with “Natural color” rendering (bands 4, 3, 2). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 24. Sentinel-2 satellite imagery of discolored plumes (light yellow-green) at Kavachi during March-April 2021. On 1 March (top left) the plume was observed extending S with a strongly discolored origin point. On 11 March (top right) the plume remained close to the origin point and did not seem to extend outward. On 26 March (bottom left) the plume was narrow and strongly extended W for several kilometers. On 10 April (bottom right) the plume extended S. Images with “Natural color” rendering (bands 4, 3, 2). Courtesy of Sentinel Hub Playground.

Geological Summary. Named for a sea-god of the Gatokae and Vangunu peoples, Kavachi is one of the most active submarine volcanoes in the SW Pacific, located in the Solomon Islands south of Vangunu Island. Sometimes referred to as Rejo te Kvachi ("Kavachi's Oven"), this shallow submarine basaltic-to-andesitic volcano has produced ephemeral islands up to 1 km long many times since its first recorded eruption during 1939. Residents of the nearby islands of Vanguna and Nggatokae (Gatokae) reported "fire on the water" prior to 1939, a possible reference to earlier eruptions. The roughly conical edifice rises from water depths of 1.1-1.2 km on the north and greater depths to the SE. Frequent shallow submarine and occasional subaerial eruptions produce phreatomagmatic explosions that eject steam, ash, and incandescent bombs. On a number of occasions lava flows were observed on the ephemeral islands.

Information Contacts: Sentinel Hub Playground (URL: https://www.sentinel-hub.com/explore/sentinel-playground).