- Current Update, last updated May 17, 2013 11:09 ChST:
A constant gas and water vapor plume from Pagan was visible in satellite images over the past week. This is typical of recent months of observation of Pagan. An ash alert was issued by the VAAC on May 14, 2013; however, as stated in the alert, no ash was identifiable on the MetSat image. The gas/vapor plume from Pagan on this day appeared more robust and extended further downwind than is typical. The hydrothermal system beneath Pagan may have responded to the M6.8 tectonic earthquake that occurred that day about 75 km to the northwest and ~600 km deep.
Because of this ongoing emission of volcanic gas from Pagan, it remains possible that residents of the CNMI may notice sulfurous odors under certain wind conditions. Additional information about volcanic gas and vog can be found online at this address: http://hvo.wr.usgs.gov/hazards/FAQ_SO2-Vog-Ash/main.html
Pagan Volcano is not monitored with ground-based geophysical instrumentation and the only sources of information are satellite observations and occasional reports from observers who pass by or visit the island. We will continue to evaluate satellite imagery, on-island, and mariner reports when they become available, but because the volcano is not monitored with ground-based instruments, we cannot provide advanced warning of activity.
Access to the island may be restricted by the CNMI government. Contact the EMO for the latest information.
No eruptive activity or significant unrest was detected at other volcanoes in Northern Mariana Islands this week.
- Volcanic History Overview: 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 probably formed during the early Holocene. 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. From the Smithsonian Global Volcanism Program.
- Location: Mariana Islands, Mariana Islands
Elevation: 570 m
Recent Eruption: 2006
- Hazard Assessments: Sako, M. K.; Trusdell, F. A.; Koyanagi, R. Y.; Kojima, George; Moore, R. B., 1995, Volcanic investigations in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, April to May 1994, USGS Open-File Report 94-705.
- Link to monitoring data: NMI Web Site
Volcanic Alert Level: ADVISORY Aviation Color Code: YELLOW