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Report on Kavachi (Solomon Islands) — July 1986


Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, vol. 11, no. 7 (July 1986)
Managing Editor: Lindsay McClelland.

Kavachi (Solomon Islands) Submarine activity

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1986. Report on Kavachi (Solomon Islands) (McClelland, L., ed.). Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, 11:7. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.SEAN198607-255060


Solomon Islands

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

Eruptive activity . . . was reported on 5, 16, and 21 July. On 5 July at 1000, Solair Captain Brian Smith observed jets of water and volcanic debris being ejected to 60-90 m, forming a cone. In the center of the cone, incandescent magma could be seen. Two days later, Pilot Bill Watts reported discolored water and bubbles, but no explosions. On 8 July Pilot Tas Laurie observed steam and discolored water.

A week later, on 21 July, ejection of water and steam to 60-90 m was again reported, lasting 2-3 minutes at a time, but not forming a cone. Activity continued for ~2 days, then subsided.

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: P. Dereni, Ministry of Natural Resources, Honiara.