Report on Anatahan (United States) — 21 July-27 July 2004
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 21 July-27 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, 21 July-27 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)
Seismicity at Anatahan approached the highest levels of the year on 23 July. That day, Strombolian explosions frequently threw mostly coarse material up to hundreds of meters at intervals of tens of seconds to minutes. On 26 July, there were nearly continuous ash-and-gas emissions. By 27 July, seismicity had decreased to very low levels in comparison to the previous 2 months, and seismic signals indicated that the frequent individual explosions that occurred during the previous week decreased greatly in size and number.
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.