Pagan

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  • Country
  • Subregion Name
  • Primary Volcano Type
  • Last Known Eruption
  • 18.13°N
  • 145.8°E

  • 570 m
    1870 ft

  • 284170
  • Latitude
  • Longitude

  • Summit
    Elevation

  • Volcano
    Number

1 January-7 January 2014

Low-level unrest continued at Pagan during 27 December 2013-2 January 2014; seismicity remained above background levels. A robust steam-and-gas plume was occasionally visible in web camera images during the reporting period. A small explosion was detected at about 0145 on 28 December. It may have produced a diffuse ash emission, but the webcam was not in operation at the time to verify. The Aviation Color Code remained at Yellow and the Volcano Alert Level remained at Advisory.

Source: Emergency Management Office of the Commonwealth of the Mariana Islands and United States Geological Survey Volcano Hazards Program



 Available Weekly Reports


2014: January
2013: February | June | August
2012: January | April | May | July | October | November | December
2011: February | April | July | August | November
2010: April | May | June | August | October | November
2009: April | August
2006: December


1 January-7 January 2014

Low-level unrest continued at Pagan during 27 December 2013-2 January 2014; seismicity remained above background levels. A robust steam-and-gas plume was occasionally visible in web camera images during the reporting period. A small explosion was detected at about 0145 on 28 December. It may have produced a diffuse ash emission, but the webcam was not in operation at the time to verify. The Aviation Color Code remained at Yellow and the Volcano Alert Level remained at Advisory.

Source: Emergency Management Office of the Commonwealth of the Mariana Islands and United States Geological Survey Volcano Hazards Program


14 August-20 August 2013

The seismic network at Pagan recorded tremor and small discrete earthquakes during 9-16 August, indicating low-level unrest. A steam-and-gas plume was visible in satellite images during periods of clear weather and from web-camera images. A small explosion with a relatively high amplitude seismic component and small infrasound component occurred at 0010 on 12 August. The data suggested that degassing increased about 30 sec after the event. The Aviation Color Code remained at Yellow and the Volcano Alert Level remained at Advisory.

Source: Emergency Management Office of the Commonwealth of the Mariana Islands and United States Geological Survey Volcano Hazards Program


19 June-25 June 2013

Satellite imagery showed a vigorous plume of gas and steam drifting from Pagan during periods of clear weather from 15 to 21 June. A field crew working on the island confirmed the emissions. This activity was typical of Pagan in the recent months; no ash had been detected in satellite images.

Source: Emergency Management Office of the Commonwealth of the Mariana Islands and United States Geological Survey Volcano Hazards Program


13 February-19 February 2013

Satellite imagery showed a plume of gas and water vapor drifting 240 km downwind from Pagan daily during 9-15 February. A USGS team that visited Pagan on 9 February observed a continuous, vigorous plume and noted a sulfur odor downwind of the summit.

Source: Emergency Management Office of the Commonwealth of the Mariana Islands and United States Geological Survey Volcano Hazards Program


5 December-11 December 2012

Satellite imagery showed a plume drifting from Pagan during 1-7 December. On 29 November observers in Saipan reported hazy sky conditions associated with N winds that pushed the gas-and-vapor plume from Pagan S. Since then, no additional reports of haze or vog associated with the Pagan plume were noted.

Source: Emergency Management Office of the Commonwealth of the Mariana Islands and United States Geological Survey Volcano Hazards Program


21 November-27 November 2012

Clear satellite views showed steam-and-gas emissions drifting from Pagan during 17-24 November. According to the Washington VAAC, ash from an unknown volcano was reported by a pilot in the vicinity of Pagan on 25 November. Satellite imagery suggested continuing degassing, but it was possible that ash was present in a 30-km-wide plume that was drifting almost 90 km S. Mostly gas was seen drifting S in an image later that day.

Sources: Emergency Management Office of the Commonwealth of the Mariana Islands and United States Geological Survey Volcano Hazards Program, Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC)


17 October-23 October 2012

Continuous steam-and-gas plumes from Pagan were observed in clear satellite images during 12-19 October. According to NASA's Earth Observatory, a satellite image acquired on 16 October showed a steam-and-gas plume drifting WNW. The Aviation Color Code remained at Yellow and the Volcano Alert Level remained at Advisory.

Sources: Emergency Management Office of the Commonwealth of the Mariana Islands and United States Geological Survey Volcano Hazards Program, NASA Earth Observatory


25 July-31 July 2012

Minor steam-and-gas plumes from Pagan were observed in satellite images during clear periods from 20 to 27 July. The Aviation Color Code remained at Yellow and the Volcano Alert Level remained at Advisory.

Source: Emergency Management Office of the Commonwealth of the Mariana Islands and United States Geological Survey Volcano Hazards Program


11 July-17 July 2012

According to the USGS, a minor, low-altitude ash cloud from Pagan was reported by the Washington VAAC on 10 July and confirmed by the Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO). The VAAC noted that the plume drifted almost 50 km NW at an altitude of 1.5 km (5,000 ft) a.s.l. Local observers indicated localized ashfall on or near the island. The Volcano Alert Level remained at Advisory and the Aviation Color Code remained at Yellow.

Sources: Emergency Management Office of the Commonwealth of the Mariana Islands and United States Geological Survey Volcano Hazards Program, Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC)


9 May-15 May 2012

According to NASA's Earth Observatory, a satellite image of Pagan acquired on 7 May showed a gas-and-steam plume drifting W. The plume's blue tint suggested the presence of sulfur dioxide; elevated levels of sulfur dioxide to the W of the volcano were detected in satellite images later that day. The USGS reported that minor steam-and-gas plumes were observed in partly cloudy satellite images during 4-11 May. The Volcano Alert Level remained at Advisory and the Aviation Color Code remained at Yellow.

Sources: Emergency Management Office of the Commonwealth of the Mariana Islands and United States Geological Survey Volcano Hazards Program, NASA Earth Observatory


11 April-17 April 2012

Minor steam-and-gas plumes from Pagan were observed in satellite images during clear periods from 6 to 13 April. The Aviation Color Code remained at Yellow and the Volcano Alert Level remained at Advisory. According to the Washington VAAC satellite images showed a plume that drifted N. Satellite images and pilot reports indicated no ash in the plume. Emissions to the W had become diffuse.

Sources: Emergency Management Office of the Commonwealth of the Mariana Islands and United States Geological Survey Volcano Hazards Program, Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC)


4 April-10 April 2012

Clear-to-partly-cloudy satellite images of Pagan showed a gas-and-steam plume extending downwind from the summit vent during 30 March-6 April. The Aviation Color Code remained at Yellow and the Volcano Alert Level remained at Advisory. According to the Washington VAAC a pilot observed a plume containing a small amount of ash that rose to an altitude below 1.5 km (5,000 ft) a.s.l. on 7 April. Satellite imagery showed a gas-and-steam plume, with possible ash content, drifting 204 km SSW.

Sources: Emergency Management Office of the Commonwealth of the Mariana Islands and United States Geological Survey Volcano Hazards Program, Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC)


25 January-31 January 2012

Low-level gas-and-steam plumes from Pagan were observed in satellite imagery during 20-27 January. Based on information from the Honolulu MWO, satellite imagery, and a pilot observation, the Washington VAAC reported gas emissions and a possible light-brown ash plume drifting E on 30 January. The Aviation Color Code remained at Yellow and the Volcano Alert Level remained at Advisory.

Sources: Emergency Management Office of the Commonwealth of the Mariana Islands and United States Geological Survey Volcano Hazards Program, Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC)


30 November-6 December 2011

A Northern Mariana Islands status report noted that clear to partly-cloudy satellite images showed a persistent gas-and-steam plume drifting from Pagan during 25 November-2 December. The Aviation Color Code remained at Yellow and the Volcano Alert Level remained at Advisory.

Source: Emergency Management Office of the Commonwealth of the Mariana Islands and United States Geological Survey Volcano Hazards Program


2 November-8 November 2011

A Northern Mariana Islands status report noted that clear to partly-cloudy satellite images showed a persistent gas-and-steam plume drifting from Pagan during 28 October-4 November. The Aviation Color Code remained at Yellow and the Volcano Alert Level remained at Advisory.

Source: Emergency Management Office of the Commonwealth of the Mariana Islands and United States Geological Survey Volcano Hazards Program


31 August-6 September 2011

A Northern Mariana Islands status report noted that during 26 August-2 September low-level vapor plumes from Pagan, possibly containing minor amounts of ash, were visible in satellite imagery. Reports from people on Pagan Island also indicated intermittent low-level but diffuse ash emissions and trace amounts of ashfall on parts of the island. The Aviation Color Code remained at Yellow and the Volcano Alert Level remained at Advisory.

Source: Emergency Management Office of the Commonwealth of the Mariana Islands and United States Geological Survey Volcano Hazards Program


6 July-12 July 2011

A Northern Mariana Islands status report noted that on 7 July a low-level gas-and-steam plume with possible fine ash was detected in satellite imagery as well as noted by observers on the island. Low-level gas-and-steam plumes had been detected in satellite imagery during the previous few weeks. The Aviation Color Code remained at Yellow and the Volcano Alert Level remained at Advisory.

Source: Emergency Management Office of the Commonwealth of the Mariana Islands and United States Geological Survey Volcano Hazards Program


20 April-26 April 2011

On 23 April, a Northern Mariana Islands status report noted that a NOAA research vessel in the vicinity of Pagan reported night time observations of incandescence at the summit of the volcano. Eruptive activity was considered currently to be at a low level; however with the possibility that the activity may escalate the Aviation Color Code for Pagan was raised to Yellow and the Volcano Alert Level to Advisory. Recent satellite image observations were obscured by clouds.

Source: Emergency Management Office of the Commonwealth of the Mariana Islands and United States Geological Survey Volcano Hazards Program


23 February-1 March 2011

On 22 February, the Aviation Color Code and the Volcano Alert Level for Pagan were lowered to Unassigned. With the exception of a faint steam-and-gas plume observed on 24 January, no unusual activity at Pagan volcano had been detected in satellite imagery during the previous six weeks. Pagan is not monitored with ground-based geophysical instrumentation; the only source of information is satellite observations and occasional reports from island visitors.

Source: Emergency Management Office of the Commonwealth of the Mariana Islands and United States Geological Survey Volcano Hazards Program


3 November-9 November 2010

Low-level gas-and-steam plumes from Pagan were observed in satellite imagery during 1-4 November. The Aviation Color Code remained at Yellow and the Volcano Alert Level remained at Advisory. Pagan is not monitored with ground-based geophysical instrumentation; the only source of information is satellite observation and occasional reports from observers who visit the island.

Source: Emergency Management Office of the Commonwealth of the Mariana Islands and United States Geological Survey Volcano Hazards Program


27 October-2 November 2010

Low-level gas-and-steam plumes from Pagan were observed in satellite imagery during 24 and 26-27 October. The Aviation Color Code remained at Yellow and the Volcano Alert Level remained at Advisory. Pagan is not monitored with ground-based geophysical instrumentation; the only source of information is satellite observation and occasional reports from observers who visit the island.

Source: Emergency Management Office of the Commonwealth of the Mariana Islands and United States Geological Survey Volcano Hazards Program


18 August-24 August 2010

Meteorological clouds mostly prevented satellite image views of Pagan during 13-20 August, although steam-and-gas plumes were seen during clear periods. On 15 August, observers working on a boat reported that a low-level ash eruption produced a diffuse, dark-colored ash-and-steam plume. The plume rose to an altitude of 1.5 km (4,900 ft) a.s.l. and caused minor ashfall on northern Pagan Island and the surrounding ocean. The Aviation Color Code remained at Yellow and the Volcano Alert Level remained at Advisory. [Correction: further data analysis showed that the ash emission from 15 August actually occurred on 11 August.]

Source: Emergency Management Office of the Commonwealth of the Mariana Islands and United States Geological Survey Volcano Hazards Program


30 June-6 July 2010

Minor gas-and-steam plumes from Pagan continued to be observed in satellite imagery during breaks in cloud cover from 25 June to 2 July. The Washington VAAC reported that on 5 July a small cloud of ash mixed with a gas plume was observed in satellite imagery. The Aviation Color Code remained at Yellow and the Volcano Alert Level remained at Advisory.

Sources: Emergency Management Office of the Commonwealth of the Mariana Islands and United States Geological Survey Volcano Hazards Program, Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC)


23 June-29 June 2010

Minor gas-and-steam plumes from Pagan continued to be observed in satellite imagery during 18-25 June. The Aviation Color Code remained at Yellow and the Volcano Alert Level remained at Advisory.

Source: Emergency Management Office of the Commonwealth of the Mariana Islands and United States Geological Survey Volcano Hazards Program


26 May-1 June 2010

Gas-and-steam plumes from Pagan continued to be observed in satellite imagery during 21-28 May. Reports from researchers camped on the island, and imagery analyses, suggested that trace amounts of ash were intermittently present in the plumes during 23-26 May. The Aviation Color Code remained at Yellow and the Volcano Alert Level remained at Advisory.

Source: Emergency Management Office of the Commonwealth of the Mariana Islands and United States Geological Survey Volcano Hazards Program


19 May-25 May 2010

Satellite imagery revealed steam plumes from Pagan during 14-21 May. On 21 May researchers camping on the island reported that a trace amount of ash was deposited on their tents from activity through the night. The Aviation Color Code remained at Yellow and the Volcano Alert Level remained at Advisory.

Source: Emergency Management Office of the Commonwealth of the Mariana Islands and United States Geological Survey Volcano Hazards Program


12 May-18 May 2010

During 7-14 May, satellite imagery revealed that a robust steam plume from Pagan drifted W and a diffuse gas plume drifted farther in the same direction. Researchers camped on the island reported no unusual activity. The Aviation Color Code remained at Yellow and the Volcano Alert Level remained at Advisory.

Source: Emergency Management Office of the Commonwealth of the Mariana Islands and United States Geological Survey Volcano Hazards Program


5 May-11 May 2010

Steam and gas plumes from Pagan were seen in satellite imagery on 28 April (UTC) and 3 May; no unusual thermal activity was identified. A visitor to the island saw a minor ash emission on the morning of 3 May. The Aviation Color Code was raised to Yellow and the Volcano Alert Level was raised to Advisory on 6 May based on the recent satellite observations and confirmed minor ashfall on the island.

Source: Emergency Management Office of the Commonwealth of the Mariana Islands and United States Geological Survey Volcano Hazards Program


21 April-27 April 2010

A gas plume from Pagan was seen in satellite imagery on 21 and 22 April (UTC). The Volcano Alert Level and the Aviation Color Code remained "Unassigned." There are no monitoring instruments on Pagan, thus the levels "Green" or "Normal" do not apply because background activity is not defined. Monitoring is done by satellite and ground observers.

Source: Emergency Management Office of the Commonwealth of the Mariana Islands and United States Geological Survey Volcano Hazards Program


12 August-18 August 2009

Based on analyses of satellite imagery, the Washington VAAC reported that on 14 August a 2-hour-long thermal anomaly detected over Pagan was followed by a small emission. The emission, hotter than its surroundings, drifted NW and quickly dissipated.

Source: Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC)


22 April-28 April 2009

The USGS stated that a crew from a NOAA ship working at Pagan observed continuous steam emissions from the N crater during 21-22 April. Satellite imagery analyzed by the Washington VAAC showed a diffuse plume drifting 15 km W on 23 April. On 28 April, steam emissions had decreased so the Aviation Color Code and the Volcano Alert Level were lowered to "Unassigned." There are no monitoring instruments on Pagan, thus the levels "Green" or "Normal" do not apply because background activity is not defined. Monitoring is done by satellite and ground observers.

Source: Emergency Management Office of the Commonwealth of the Mariana Islands and United States Geological Survey Volcano Hazards Program


15 April-21 April 2009

Based on reports from the Washington VAAC, the USGS stated that on 15 April intermittent plumes of steam from Pagan rose to an altitude of 1.8 km (6,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted 37 km W. Observers on a ship reported that a white plume "with some black" rose 1.8 km (5,700 ft) from the volcano. On 16 April a diffuse plume drifted 85 km W. USGS raised the Aviation Color Code to Yellow and the Volcano Alert Level to Advisory. The next day fishermen again reported a plume.

Source: Emergency Management Office of the Commonwealth of the Mariana Islands and United States Geological Survey Volcano Hazards Program


6 December-12 December 2006

During 4-5 December, residents 3 km SW of Pagan reported ashfall that accumulated in their camp at a rate of about 6.4 mm per day. They also described a plume from the summit that rose to an altitude of 640 m (2,100 ft) a.s.l. and a sulfur smell that occasionally wafted through their camp. Based on satellite imagery, the Washington VAAC reported a gas-and-ash plume that drifted mainly W on 5, 6, and 8 December. Satellite imagery showed no further activity through 11 December.

Sources: Emergency Management Office of the Commonwealth of the Mariana Islands and United States Geological Survey Volcano Hazards Program, US Geological Survey Volcano Hazards Program, Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC)


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

Start Date Stop Date Eruption Certainty VEI Evidence Activity Area or Unit
2012 Oct 30 2012 Dec 11 (?) Confirmed 2 Historical Observations North Pagan
2011 Apr 23 (?) 2011 Sep 1 (?) Confirmed 2 Historical Observations North Pagan
2010 May 3 2010 Aug 11 Confirmed 1 Historical Observations North Pagan
[ 2009 Apr 15 ] [ Unknown ] Uncertain 2   North Pagan
2006 Dec 4 2006 Dec 8 Confirmed 1 Historical Observations North Pagan
1996 Unknown Confirmed 1 Historical Observations North Pagan
1993 Jan 15 ± 5 days 1993 Nov (in or after) Confirmed 2 Historical Observations North Pagan
1992 Apr 13 1992 Apr 13 Confirmed 1 Historical Observations North Pagan
1988 Aug 24 1988 Oct 12 Confirmed 2 Historical Observations North Pagan
[ 1988 Feb 16 ] [ Unknown ] Uncertain     North Pagan
1987 Sep 4 1987 Sep 4 Confirmed 1 Historical Observations North Pagan
1981 May 15 1985 May 1 (in or after) Confirmed 4 Historical Observations North Pagan (summit and north flank)
[ 1966 May 23 ] [ Unknown ] Discredited    
[ 1929 ] [ 1930 ] Uncertain     South Pagan, cone within caldera
1925 Feb 1925 May 5 Confirmed 2 Historical Observations
1923 Feb (?) 1923 Mar 26 ± 5 days Confirmed 3 Historical Observations North Pagan
1917 Unknown Confirmed 2 Historical Observations North Pagan
1909 Unknown Confirmed 2 Historical Observations North Pagan
1873 (?) Unknown Confirmed 3 Historical Observations North Pagan
1864 Unknown Confirmed 1 Historical Observations South Pagan
1825 ± 5 years Unknown Confirmed 2 Historical Observations North Pagan
1800 ± 50 years Unknown Confirmed   Radiocarbon (uncorrected) North Pagan (west flank maar)
1669 Unknown Confirmed   Historical Observations North Pagan
1340 ± 100 years Unknown Confirmed   Radiocarbon (corrected) North Pagan (west flank maar)

The following references are the sources used for data regarding this volcano. References are linked directly to our volcano data file. 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. Additional discussion of data sources can be found under Volcano Data Criteria.

Banks N G, Koyanagi R Y, Sinton J M, Honma K T, 1984. The eruption of Mount Pagan volcano, Mariana Islands, 15 May 1981. J Volc Geotherm Res, 22: 225-270.

Bloomer S H, Stern R J, Smoot N C, 1989. Physical volcanology of the submarine Mariana and Volcano arcs. Bull Volc, 51: 210-224.

Corwin G, 1971. Quaternary volcanics of the Mariana Islands. Unpublished manuscript, 137 p.

Katsui Y (ed), 1971. List of the World Active Volcanoes. Volc Soc Japan draft ms, (limited circulation), 160 p.

Kuno H, 1962. Japan, Taiwan and Marianas. Catalog of Active Volcanoes of the World and Solfatara Fields, Rome: IAVCEI, 11: 1-332.

Moore R B, 1993. . (pers. comm.).

Newhall C G, Dzurisin D, 1988. Historical unrest at large calderas of the world. U S Geol Surv Bull, 1855: 1108 p, 2 vol.

Trusdell F A, Moore R B, Sako M K, 2006. Preliminary geologic map of Mount Pagan volcano, Pagan Island, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. U S Geol Surv Open-File Rep, 2006-1386: 1-32.

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 may have formed less than 1000 years ago. 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.