Reports of underwater volcano activities in Manu’a

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The American Samoa Government has activated its Emergency Operations Center (EOC) in response to reports of underwater volcano activities by residents of Ofu and Fitiuta in Manu’a. 

A statement issued this evening by the EOC indicated reports of ground shaking due to what they describe as Vailulu’u underwater volcano activities. 

“Located between Tau and Rose Atoll, Vailulu’u is an unpredictable and very active underwater volcano presenting a potential long-term volcanic hazard.” 

“On February 24, 2017, an American Samoa Expedition of NOAA: Suesuega o le Moana o Amerika Samoa expedition, explored Vailul seamount and discovered an active volcano lying in the eastern region of the Samoan hotspot. 

“The last visual survey of the volcano had taken place in 2005, but the seamount had been mapped since. 

“Reports from the NOAA website say, a comparison of multibeam data collected in 2012 with new bathymetric data collected during this 2017 expedition, showed that the volcanic cone in the crater, called Nafanua, had grown substantially since the seamount was last mapped in 2012, having formed two distinct volcanic features. 

This volcano in the Samoa Islands rises to a height of 16,400 feet from the sea floor. It is located to the east of Tau Island and it is said to have emitted smoggy water from its peak recently.”

According to the statement, the Director of Homeland Security/ TCO, Samana Ve’ave’a said his staff in Manua have been advised to activate Ofu and Tau EOC Offices to provide assistance for our people there in the event something happens. 

Reports received from residents of Ofu and Fitiuta say the grounds have been shaking since 3:00 pm this afternoon.