Report on Kavachi (Solomon Islands) — 30 January-5 February 2002
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 30 January-5 February 2002
Managing Editor: Gari Mayberry
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2002. Report on Kavachi (Solomon Islands). In: Mayberry, G (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 30 January-5 February 2002. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
8.991°S, 157.979°E; summit elev. -20 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
During visits to Kavachi in January, occasional explosive eruptions were seen that produced columns of steam, ash, rock, and water up to 1 km a.s.l. Sulfur slicks, small fragments of volcanic rock, and bubbles from the release of gas were visible at the sea surface. In addition, loud sounds were heard approximately every 2-15 minutes. The volcano's summit was estimated to be 60 m below sea level.
Geologic Background. 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 about 30 km N of the site of subduction of the Indo-Australian plate beneath the Pacific plate. 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.
Source: The Wilderness Lodge