SCIENTISTS VISIT NORTHERN MARIANAS VOLCANO

By John Ravelo

SAIPAN, CNMI (Saipan Tribune, July 7) - A joint team from the Emergency Management Office and the U.S. geological Survey set foot on Anatahan Island sometime last week, as volcanic activity continued for the 58th day yesterday.

No ashfall occurred during the team's 30-minute stay Wednesday.

The EMO said yesterday it visited the abandoned village on the island, as well as the seismic station that has been installed to monitor seismic activities that might be associated with the volcanic eruption.

"We briefly visited the abandoned village on the northwest coast of Anatahan and retrieved about 5mm of ash that had fallen into a collecting pan since June 21. Rainwater had redistributed the original fall deposit, so an accurate thickness could not be determined," an EMO-USGS report stated.

Upon landing at the east end of the island to visit the seismic station, the team found no visible changes and the device continued to be in operation, claimed EMO.

From Wednesday until Friday, though, the island continued to experience volcanic tremors, but reportedly at lower levels compared to those recorded in previous days. Quakes recorded by the Anatahan seismic station were as strong as intensity 4.9.

The team flew to the island Wednesday by helicopter, and observed that the eruption seemed to have subsided. Plume coming from the volcano's crater rose only to an altitude of about 3,000 feet.

"The plume was thin and had a low content of ash. It rose slowly vertically and did not appear to be dispersed very far downwind, despite light trade winds coming from the east-northeast," the report stated.

"We still were unable to see all the way to the crater floor, but several small vents emitting fine-grained ash and fumaroles producing white steam were visible on the lower crater walls," the team added.

The Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center also reported the continuous gas and ash emissions on Anatahan yesterday.

July 7, 2003

Saipan Tribune: http://www.tribune.co.mp/ 

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