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Report on Ta'u (United States) — 10 August-16 August 2022


Smithsonian Institution / US Geological Survey
Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 10 August-16 August 2022
Managing Editor: Sally Sennert.

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2022. Report on Ta'u (United States) (Sennert, S, ed.). Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 10 August-16 August 2022. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Weekly Report (10 August-16 August 2022)


United States

14.23°S, 169.454°W; summit elev. 931 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

HVO reported that earthquakes were felt by residents of the Manu'a group of islands in American Samoa beginning on 26 July. Residents of Ofu and Olosega islands began reporting earthquakes on 10 August. Experts from HVO, Pago Pago National Weather Service Office (NWS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, NOAA-IOC (NOAA-Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission), International Tsunami Information Center, and USGS National Earthquake Information Center have been working together to respond to the unrest. USGS scientists arrived on the islands and installed two microseismometers, one in Fiti'uta village on Ta'u island on 13 August and the other in Olosega village on 14 August. The instruments began recording about 20 earthquakes per hour. The largest earthquakes, including the felt events, were estimated to be between magnitudes 2 and 3; most of the events were too small to be felt. The exact location and depth of these earthquakes was unknown, due to limited earthquake monitoring equipment, though the data suggested that the events were beneath the Manu'a Islands, likely closer to Ta'u island rather than Ofu-Olosega, and were probably not related to the recently active Vailulu'u seamount. HVO noted that American Samoa’s volcanoes were monitored remotely by satellites and a distant seismic station in Apia, Samoa; the lack of ground-based monitoring stations does not allow for advanced warning of new activity. Both the Volcano Alert Level and Aviation Color Code were categorized as Unassigned due to the lack of a volcano-monitoring network.

Geological Summary. The 10-km-wide Ta'u Island, located at the E end of the Samoan islands, is ringed by sea cliffs. It is the emergent portion of the large Lata shield volcano. A major flank collapse event around 22 ka resulted in the steep scarps on the southern side of the island. Two smaller shields were constructed along rift zones at the NW and NE tips of the island. The NW corner of the island has a tuff-cone complex that ejected large dunite xenoliths and coral blocks. Numerous Holocene post-caldera cones occur at the summit and on the flanks.

Source: US Geological Survey Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO)