Report on Anatahan (United States) — 14 July-20 July 2004
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 14 July-20 July 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, 14 July-20 July 2004. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
16.35°N, 145.67°E; summit elev. 790 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
During 14-20 July, Strombolian explosions at Anatahan were frequently accompanied by steam-and-ash explosions. The explosions threw mostly coarse volcanic material up to ~100 m at intervals lasting tens of seconds. A plume of fine ash and steam extended tens of kilometers predominately towards the W, reaching heights below ~1.8 km a.s.l. According to the Washington VAAC, low-level ash plumes were occasionally 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.