Report on Anatahan (United States) — 25 June-1 July 2003
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 25 June-1 July 2003
Managing Editor: Gari Mayberry
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2003. Report on Anatahan (United States). In: Mayberry, G (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 25 June-1 July 2003. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
16.35°N, 145.67°E; summit elev. 790 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
The eruption that began at Anatahan on 10 May continued through 26 June, with fine ash emitted from the volcano's East Crater drifting W and SW. During 24-26 June, steam was primarily seen rising to low levels above the volcano, but there were periods when a more ash-laden plume rose to a maximum height of ~2 km above the volcano. The bottom of East Crater was obscured, so scientists could not determine if a lava dome was present. Several earthquakes near Anatahan were recorded during 24-26 June at both the Anatahan and Saipan stations. The largest earthquake occurred on 24 June with a magnitude of 4.9. During the report period, ash was sometimes visible on satellite imagery.
Geologic Background. The elongate, 9-km-long island of Anatahan in the central Mariana Islands consists of a large stratovolcano with a 2.3 x 5 km compound summit caldera. The larger western portion of the caldera is 2.3 x 3 km wide, and its western rim forms the island's high point. Ponded lava flows overlain by pyroclastic deposits fill the floor of the western caldera, whose SW side is cut by a fresh-looking smaller crater. The 2-km-wide eastern portion of the caldera contained a steep-walled inner crater whose floor prior to the 2003 eruption was only 68 m above sea level. A submarine cone, named NE Anatahan, rises to within 460 m of the sea surface on the NE flank, and numerous other submarine vents are found on the NE-to-SE flanks. Sparseness of vegetation on the most recent lava flows had indicated that they were of Holocene age, but the first historical eruption did not occur until May 2003, when a large explosive eruption took place forming a new crater inside the eastern caldera.