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Report on Ofu-Olosega (United States) — 17 August-23 August 2022


Smithsonian Institution / US Geological Survey
Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 17 August-23 August 2022
Managing Editor: Sally Sennert.

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2022. Report on Ofu-Olosega (United States) (Sennert, S, ed.). Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 17 August-23 August 2022. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Weekly Report (17 August-23 August 2022)


United States

14.175°S, 169.618°W; summit elev. 639 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

HVO reported that an earthquake swarm in the Manu’a Islands of American Samoa continued to be recorded and felt by residents of Ta’u Island and Ofu-Olosega. About 20 earthquakes per hour were recorded by four microseismometers distributed on Tutuila, Ta’u, and Ofu-Olosega Islands. The largest events were estimated to be between magnitudes 2 and 3; most events are too small to be felt. Analysis of the seismic data indicated that the earthquakes were occurring beneath or around the Manu’a Islands, likely closer to Ta’u rather than Ofu-Olosega, though the exact locations, depths, and magnitudes were unknown. The number, size, and frequency of earthquakes recorded by instruments and being felt by people and on both islands indicated that seismicity was above background levels; HVO changed the Volcano Alert Level to Advisory and the Aviation Color Code to Yellow for both volcanoes. Earthquakes continued to be recorded at around the same rate during 20-22 August. Two additional seismometers were installed on Ta’u during 22-23 August.

Geological Summary. The two triangle-shaped islands of Ofu and Olosega in eastern Samoa, with a combined length of 6 km, are separated by a narrow strait. The islands are formed by two eroded, coalescing basaltic shield volcanoes whose slopes dip to the east and west. Steep cliffs up to 600-m high truncate the northern and southern sides of the islands. The narrow, steep-sided ridge forming the eastern tip of Ofu Island consists of a dike complex. The shield volcano on Ofu is cut on the north by the A'ofa caldera; bathymetry suggests that a caldera may also exist on the Sili shield volcano of Olosega. The Nu'utele tuff cone, forming a small crescent-shaped island immediately off the west end of Ofu Island, is Holocene in age. A submarine eruption took place in 1866 at the opposite end of the two islands, 3 km SE of Olosega, along the ridge connecting Olosega with Ta'u Island.

Source: US Geological Survey Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO)