Report on Kavachi (Solomon Islands) — 29 April-5 May 2020
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 29 April-5 May 2020
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2020. Report on Kavachi (Solomon Islands). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 29 April-5 May 2020. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
8.991°S, 157.979°E; summit elev. -20 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
Satellite data showed discolored water around Kavachi beginning in January 2020; the discolored plumes became more frequent, dense, and stretched for longer distances. On 25 April a satellite image showed a plume in the water that was about 15 km long but spread over an approximate area of 30 square kilometers. A small brown circle about 50,000 square meters in area indicated the presence of material over the likely vent location. An image acquired on 30 April showed a thin ribbon of discolored water extending about 50 km W of Kavachi.
Geologic Background. Named for a sea-god of the Gatokae and Vangunu peoples, Kavachi is one of the most active submarine volcanoes in the SW Pacific, located in the Solomon Islands south of Vangunu Island about 30 km N of the site of subduction of the Indo-Australian plate beneath the Pacific plate. Sometimes referred to as Rejo te Kvachi ("Kavachi's Oven"), this shallow submarine basaltic-to-andesitic volcano has produced ephemeral islands up to 1 km long many times since its first recorded eruption during 1939. Residents of the nearby islands of Vanguna and Nggatokae (Gatokae) reported "fire on the water" prior to 1939, a possible reference to earlier eruptions. The roughly conical edifice rises from water depths of 1.1-1.2 km on the north and greater depths to the SE. Frequent shallow submarine and occasional subaerial eruptions produce phreatomagmatic explosions that eject steam, ash, and incandescent bombs. On a number of occasions lava flows were observed on the ephemeral islands.