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Report on Pagan (United States) — 22 April-28 April 2009

Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 22 April-28 April 2009
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2009. Report on Pagan (United States). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 22 April-28 April 2009. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Volcano Profile |  Weekly Report (22 April-28 April 2009)


United States

18.13°N, 145.8°E; summit elev. 570 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

The USGS stated that a crew from a NOAA ship working at Pagan observed continuous steam emissions from the N crater during 21-22 April. Satellite imagery analyzed by the Washington VAAC showed a diffuse plume drifting 15 km W on 23 April. On 28 April, steam emissions had decreased so the Aviation Color Code and the Volcano Alert Level were lowered to "Unassigned." There are no monitoring instruments on Pagan, thus the levels "Green" or "Normal" do not apply because background activity is not defined. Monitoring is done by satellite and ground observers.

Geologic Background. Pagan Island, the largest and one of the most active of the Mariana Islands volcanoes, consists of two stratovolcanoes connected by a narrow isthmus. Both North and South Pagan stratovolcanoes were constructed within calderas, 7 and 4 km in diameter, respectively. The 570-m-high Mount Pagan at the NE end of the island rises above the flat floor of the northern caldera, which may have formed less than 1000 years ago. South Pagan is a 548-m-high stratovolcano with an elongated summit containing four distinct craters. Almost all of the historical eruptions of Pagan, which date back to the 17th century, have originated from North Pagan volcano. The largest eruption of Pagan during historical time took place in 1981 and prompted the evacuation of the sparsely populated island.

Source: Emergency Management Office of the Commonwealth of the Mariana Islands and United States Geological Survey Volcano Hazards Program