New underwater eruption of Kavachi volcano, Solomon Islands


On January 29, 2014, Earth Observing-1 satellite captured a plume of discolored sea drifting from the location of the underwater volcano Kavachi, southern edge of the Solomon Islands – western Pacific Ocean.

Aquamarine water extends eastward from the submerged volcano. It is likely a result of dissolved volcanic gases and lava fragments suspended in the water. 

A bright patch, directly above the undersea peak, is suggestive of vigorously churning water – but there is no sign that the eruption has broken the surface. (EO)

Kavachi is located south of Vangunu Island and only about 30 km north of the site of subduction of the Indo-Australian plate beneath the Pacific plate. The shallow submarine basaltic-to-andesitic volcano has produced ephemeral islands up to 1 km long many times since its first recorded eruption during 1939.

NASA Earth Observatory image by Jesse Allen and Robert Simmon, using EO-1 ALI data from the NASA EO-1 team. Date acquired: January 29, 2014

"Kavachi is one of the most active submarine volcanoes in the SW Pacific. It occupies an isolated position in the Solomon Islands far from major aircraft and shipping lanes. 

Residents of the nearby islands of Vanguna and Nggatokae (Gatokae) reported "fire on the water" prior to 1939, a possible reference to earlier submarine eruptions. The roughly conical volcano rises from water depths of 1.1-1.2 km on the north and greater depths to the south.

Frequent shallow submarine and occasional subaerial eruptions produce phreatomagmatic explosions that eject steam, ash, and incandescent bombs above the sea surface. On a number of occasions lava flows were observed on the surface of ephemeral islands." (GVP)

Last confirmed eruption of this volcano took place in April 2007 (VEI 1).​

Featured image by Jesse Allen and Robert Simmon, using EO-1 ALI data from the NASA EO-1 team (NASA / Earth Observatory).


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