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Report on Macdonald (Undersea Features) — May 1986


Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, vol. 11, no. 5 (May 1986)
Managing Editor: Lindsay McClelland.

Macdonald (Undersea Features) First seismic crisis in 4 years

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1986. Report on Macdonald (Undersea Features) (McClelland, L., ed.). Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, 11:5. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.SEAN198605-333060


Undersea Features

28.98°S, 140.25°W; summit elev. -39 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

The RSP detected acoustic (T-phase) waves from . . . a seismic crisis at Macdonald. The seismicity began on 16 May at 1550 with explosive activity, followed by continuous noise of variable amplitudes with episodes of higher intensity. The crisis ended 18 May at about 2100, but sporadic activity was recorded until 20 May around [0400]. This crisis is the third recorded since 1977 and the first since December 1983. The May activity is comparable in duration and intensity to that of June 1982 (Talandier and Okal, 1984).

Reference. Talandier, J., and Okal, E.A., 1984, New surveys of Macdonald Seamount, south central Pacific, following volcanoseismic activity, 1977-1983: Geophysical Research Letters, v. 1, no. 9, p. 813-816.

Geological Summary. Discovered by the detection of teleseismic waves in 1967, Macdonald seamount (also known as Tamarii seamount) rises from a depth of about 1800 m to within 27 m of the sea surface at the eastern end of the Austral Islands. The alkali-basaltic submarine volcano marks the site of a hotspot that was the source of the Austral-Cook island chain. The summit of the seamount, named after volcanologist Gordon Macdonald, consists of a flat plateau about 100 x 150 m wide with an average depth of about 40 m. The summit plateau is capped with spatter cones that form steep-sided pinnacles. Most eruptions have been seismically detected, but in 1987 and 1989 pumice emission was observed from research vessels. Pumice rafts observed in the South Pacific in 1928 and 1936 may also have originated here.

Information Contacts: J. Talandier, LDG Tahiti.