Report on Anatahan (United States) — 7 April-13 April 2004
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 7 April-13 April 2004
Managing Editor: Gari Mayberry
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2004. Report on Anatahan (United States). In: Mayberry, G (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 7 April-13 April 2004. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
16.35°N, 145.67°E; summit elev. 790 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
On 12 April the presence of a new lava dome at Anatahan within a crescent-shaped crater lake was confirmed by scientists. Fresh ejecta were visible within the lowest reaches of the crater. High levels of volcanic seismicity that began on 31 March continued through 12 April, although it was not quite as high as during its 6-7 April peak. Scientists believed that small steam and/or ash emissions occasionally rose to levels below 1 km, but could increase in height relatively abruptly without much warning.
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.