ASG “recent seismographic activities are not primarily caused by the Vailulu’u seamount”

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The American Samoa Government has confirmed the recent seismographic activities are not primarily caused by the Vailulu’u seamount, American Samoa’s most active submarine volcano, this according to scientists and NOAA researchers.

However, they do not rule out that the cause for these tremors is due to perhaps other volcanic activity in the vicinity of the Manu’a islands.

This was confirmed in a statement issued by the government, after efforts by Samoa News to get comments since Monday.

On Monday Governor Lemanu Peleti Sialega Mauga and a team of directors visited Manu’a, including Department of Health Director Motusa Nua, Department of Homeland Security Director Samana Ve’ave’a, Department of Marine and Wildlife Resources Director Taotasi Soliai, Department of Education Deputy Director Roxanne Salave’a, and Governor’s Office staffer Sualevai Sualevai.

The statement said the team visited the Manu’a islands to speak with concerned residents and village council members regarding the issue of the recent seismographic activities surrounding the Manu’a islands.

Upon arrival, Governor Lemanu was briefed by the Department of Homeland Security in Manu’a that the scientists and NOAA researchers had completed their assessments at that time.

“Our residents are in fear and have evacuated,” stated Sao Nua of Ta’u.

“We want to know what ASG’s plans are for displaced villagers of Fitiuta, Ta’u, and Faleasao. We heard the loud booms and tremors throughout the night and feel our lives are in great danger.”

According to the statement, other residents suggested that ASG share its plans with residents as soon as possible.

“The village of Faleasao voiced that the villagers would need a consistent water supply on the mountainside, where there is currently none, to support evacuating further inland. In the villages of Ofu and Olosega, their main concern was improving escape routes to higher ground, making them accessible by vehicles.

Governor Lemanu addressed the residents of the Manu’a District with much concern and compassion.

“You are all going through a time where we are all experiencing these natural occurrences in real-time. The last major volcanic eruption near Manu’a was dated back in the 1860s, before any of us or our parents and grandparents were alive.

“I commend you all for evacuating to higher ground; you have taken the proper precautions and reacted to protecting your lives first.

“This has been a great opportunity to hear your concerns because, in Tutuila, we do not hear the booming sounds or feel the tremors as you do here in Manu’a.

“We will respond quickly to the immediate actions needed to ensure a swift and safe evacuation from coastal villages, villages with only one main road, and villages that need a good water source at evacuation sites.”

Gov Lemanu further explained that at this time, more off-island resources, Federal personnel, scientists, and equipment are on the way to assist in gathering more facts and information on locating the source of the seismicity and further explaining if these occurrences are linked to pre-eruption activity.

Adding that our local resources have been mobilized to assist throughout the Manua islands.

“The Department of Public Health has Behavioral and Mental Health physicians staged in both Ta’u and Ofu/Olosega, as well as various first responders from the Department of Public Safety and Department of Homeland Security, and the Search and Rescue Office. Governor Lemanu stated, “These off-island resources should arrive this week and be mobilized here to Manu’a as soon as possible.

“As soon as my office receives more information, it will assist us in formulating effective strategies for keeping you safe.”

BACKGROUND

In the meantime, the US Geological Survey in its latest report dated August 15, 2022 indicated no significant changes over the past 24 hours.

“The earthquake swarm in the Manuʻa islands of American Samoa continues, with a source closer to Taʻu island than Vailuluʻu seamount. A microseismometer (earthquake-detecting device) installed in Fitiʻuta village on Taʻū island on August 13 is recording approximately 30-60 earthquakes per hour; most events are too small to be felt. Estimated magnitudes of the largest earthquakes, including the felt events, are between magnitude 2 and 3.

“Residents of the Manuʻa group of islands in American Samoa continue to feel earthquakes. Residents reported that earthquakes began about 3 weeks ago and this fits with a felt earthquake report from July 26.

“The largest events recorded over the past 24 hours appear to be between magnitude 2 and 3. Approximately 30-60 earthquakes are occurring per hour, but most are too small to be felt.

“Reports suggest that the earthquakes vary in intensity, but are generally short, sharp jolts. The earthquakes are more likely to be felt by people indoors at rest and along the coast, where buildings sit on sediment that amplifies shaking.

“These factors are probably responsible for the variability in reporting and based on the analysis of earthquake data from a microseismometer installed on Taʻū island and felt reports, the source of these earthquakes is likely closer to Taʻū island rather than to Vailuluʻu.

Scientists plan to install additional instruments to monitor earthquakes and other activity in the coming week.”