Savai'i

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  • Country
  • Volcanic Region
  • Primary Volcano Type
  • Last Known Eruption
  • 13.612°S
  • 172.525°W

  • 1858 m
    6094 ft

  • 244040
  • Latitude
  • Longitude

  • Summit
    Elevation

  • Volcano
    Number

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Savai'i, the largest and highest of the Samoan islands, consists of a massive basaltic shield volcano constructed along a WNW-ESE-trending rift zone that splits into two rifts on the east side of the 75-km-long, oval-shaped island. Pliocene and Pleistocene shield formation was followed by stream and marine erosion, partial submergence, and growth of coral reefs. Late-stage Pleistocene and Holocene eruptions produced voluminous lava flows that partially buried fringing reefs. Numerous cinder cones and lava cones dot the broad crest of Savai'i, which has a low-angle, dome-like profile and reaches an elevation of 1858 m. Additional cones occur on the north-central flank, and a large number are found in the south-central part of the island. Three eruptions, including two in the 20th century, occurred in historical time, and produced voluminous lava flows that reached the northern coast along broad fronts up to about 15 km wide, destroying several villages and overtopping fringing reefs.

Summary of Holocene eruption dates and Volcanic Explosivity Indices (VEI).

Start Date Stop Date Eruption Certainty VEI Evidence Activity Area or Unit
1905 Aug 4 1911 Nov Confirmed 2 Historical Observations Matavanu (north flank 402 m)
1902 Oct 30 1902 Nov 17 ± 4 days Confirmed 1 Historical Observations Mata Ole Afi (1649 m)
1760 Unknown Confirmed 2 Historical Observations Mauga Afi (west-central Toasivi ridge)
1610 ± 200 years Unknown Confirmed   Radiocarbon (corrected) Le'ele
1350 ± 50 years Unknown Confirmed   Radiocarbon (corrected) Tafua Savai'i?
1310 ± 50 years Unknown Confirmed   Radiocarbon (corrected)
1240 ± 30 years Unknown Confirmed   Radiocarbon (corrected)
1040 ± 150 years Unknown Confirmed   Radiocarbon (corrected)
0170 ± 100 years Unknown Confirmed   Radiocarbon (corrected)
0480 BCE ± 300 years Unknown Confirmed   Radiocarbon (corrected)
1150 BCE ± 150 years Unknown Confirmed   Radiocarbon (corrected)
1990 BCE ± 150 years Unknown Confirmed   Radiocarbon (corrected) North flank (Maugaloa)

This compilation of synonyms and subsidiary features may not be comprehensive. Features are organized into four major categories: Cones, Craters, Domes, and Thermal Features. Synonyms of features appear indented below the primary name. In some cases additional feature type, elevation, or location details are provided.


Cones

Feature Name Feature Type Elevation Latitude Longitude
Afutina Cone 13° 39' 18" S 172° 13' 37" W
Anaota Cone 13° 33' 0" S 172° 46' 23" W
Asi, Mount Cone 13° 40' 0" S 172° 11' 10" W
Eleitoga Cone 13° 36' 7" S 172° 38' 20" W
Fa'ani Cone 13° 34' 52" S 172° 27' 18" W
Fagalo Cone 13° 32' 31" S 172° 42' 18" W
Fogapoa Cone 13° 40' 5" S 172° 11' 42" W
Fualua Cone 13° 37' 55" S 172° 19' 5" W
Fui'avea Lava cone 13° 32' 35" S 172° 23' 10" W
Le'ele Pyroclastic cone
Mafane Cone 13° 39' 25" S 172° 20' 31" W
Maga Cone 13° 31' 23" S 172° 47' 49" W
Maile Cone 13° 34' 1" S 172° 42' 29" W
Mana'omia Cone 13° 38' 0" S 172° 23' 53" W
Masa Cone 13° 38' 35" S 172° 14' 49" W
Mata'aga Cone 13° 36' 11" S 172° 27' 7" W
Matafa Cone 13° 37' 23" S 172° 19' 5" W
Mataulano Pyroclastic cone 13° 37' 0" S 172° 20' 0" W
Matavanu Cone 13° 31' 59" S 172° 24' 11" W
Mauga Mu
    Aopo
Pyroclastic cone 13° 36' 43" S 172° 31' 30" W
Mauga Silisili Pyroclastic cone 13° 36' 29" S 172° 28' 26" W
Maugaloa Pyroclastic cone 13° 33' 7" S 172° 25' 37" W
Mulimauga Cone 13° 33' 11" S 172° 24' 18" W
Olomanu Tai Cone 13° 38' 42" S 172° 17' 49" W
Olomanu Uta Cone 13° 38' 42" S 172° 19' 1" W
Pule Cone 13° 33' 47" S 172° 24' 54" W
Pulea Cone 13° 33' 7" S 172° 44' 0" W
Puna Cone 13° 34' 0" S 172° 19' 30" W
Saleleloga Cone 13° 42' 47" S 172° 13' 41" W
Samau Cone 13° 33' 0" S 172° 42' 11" W
Savai'i, Tafua Tuff cone 13° 46' 55" S 172° 15' 11" W
Siope Cone 13° 36' 47" S 172° 27' 18" W
Tagotala Cone 13° 33' 47" S 172° 17' 31" W
Tapu'ele'ele Cone 13° 37' 59" S 172° 14' 13" W
Te'elagi Cone 13° 38' 13" S 172° 26' 0" W
To'iavea Pyroclastic cone 13° 36' 18" S 172° 20' 53" W
Vaiala Cone 13° 39' 43" S 172° 12' 25" W
Vaiolo Cone 13° 40' 0" S 172° 13' 1" W
Ve'a Cone 13° 37' 5" S 172° 19' 59" W

Craters

Feature Name Feature Type Elevation Latitude Longitude
Mata Ole Afi Crater 13° 37' 0" S 172° 31' 1" W
Mauga Afi
    Manga Afi
    Muaga Mua
Fissure vent 13° 36' 54" S 172° 34' 19" W
Savai'i, the largest and highest of the Samoan islands, fills this NASA Landsat image (with north to the top). The 75-km-long island consists of a massive basaltic shield volcano constructed along a WNW-ESE-trending rift zone that splits into two rifts on the east side of the island. The broad crest of Savai'i is dotted with numerous cinder cones and lava cones, some of which were the source of historical eruptions that produced lava flows that reached the sea.

NASA Landsat7 image (worldwind.arc.nasa.gov)
The oval-shaped, 75-km-long island of Savai'i, the largest and highest of the Samoan islands, consists of a massive basaltic low-angle shield volcano. Numerous cinder cones and lava cones dot the broad crest of Savai'i, which has a low-angle, dome-like profile and reaches an elevation of 1858 m. The fresh lava flows in the foreground were erupted during the most recent eruption of the volcano in 1905.

Photo by Karoly Nemeth (Massey University).
A major eruption of Savai'i took place from August 4 to November, 1905. Voluminous lava flows from the Matavanu vent on the north flank flowed 12 km to sea, destroying several villages and many fields. This image shows a pressure ridge on the lava flow, with the north coast in the background.

Photo by Karoly Nemeth (Massey University).

The following references have all been used during the compilation of data for this volcano, it is not a comprehensive bibliography. Discussion of another volcano or eruption (sometimes far from the one that is the subject of the manuscript) may produce a citation that is not at all apparent from the title.

IAVCEI, 1973-80. Post-Miocene Volcanoes of the World. IAVCEI Data Sheets, Rome: Internatl Assoc Volc Chemistry Earth's Interior..

Jensen H I, 1906. The geology of Samoa, and the eruptions in Savaii. Proc Linnean Soc New South Wales, 31: 641-672.

Kear D, Wood B L, 1959. The geology and hydrology of western Samoa. New Zeal Geol Surv Bull, 63: 1-92.

Nemeth K, Cronin S J, 2009. Volcanic structures and oral traditions of volcanism of Western Samoa (SW Pacific) and their implications for hazard education. J Volc Geotherm Res, 186: 223-237.

Nemeth K, Cronin S J, Lolo F, Leavasa M, Solomona D S, Nelson F, 2007. Volcanic evolution, oral traditions of volcanism of Western Samoa (SW Pacific) and their volcanic hazard implications. Geol Soc New Zeal, New Zeal Geophys Soc Joint Annual Conf, Prog Abs, p 113.

Richard J J, 1962. Kermadec, Tonga and Samoa. Catalog of Active Volcanoes of the World and Solfatara Fields, Rome: IAVCEI, 13: 1-38.

Stearns H T, 1944. Geology of the Samoan Islands. Geol Soc Amer Bull, 55: 1279-1332.

Volcano Types

Shield
Pyroclastic cone(s)

Tectonic Setting

Subduction zone
Oceanic crust (< 15 km)

Rock Types

Major
Basalt / Picro-Basalt

Population

Within 5 km
Within 10 km
Within 30 km
Within 100 km
0
59
34,215
188,465

Affiliated Databases

Large Eruptions of Savai'i Information about large Quaternary eruptions (VEI >= 4) is cataloged in the Large Magnitude Explosive Volcanic Eruptions (LaMEVE) database of the Volcano Global Risk Identification and Analysis Project (VOGRIPA).
WOVOdat WOVOdat is a database of volcanic unrest; instrumentally and visually recorded changes in seismicity, ground deformation, gas emission, and other parameters from their normal baselines. It is sponsored by the World Organization of Volcano Observatories (WOVO) and presently hosted at the Earth Observatory of Singapore.
EarthChem EarthChem develops and maintains databases, software, and services that support the preservation, discovery, access and analysis of geochemical data, and facilitate their integration with the broad array of other available earth science parameters. EarthChem is operated by a joint team of disciplinary scientists, data scientists, data managers and information technology developers who are part of the NSF-funded data facility Integrated Earth Data Applications (IEDA). IEDA is a collaborative effort of EarthChem and the Marine Geoscience Data System (MGDS).
Smithsonian Collections Search the Smithsonian's NMNH Department of Mineral Sciences collections database. Go to the "Search Rocks and Ores" tab and use the Volcano Name drop-down to find samples.