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Eruption of Anatahan
This page contains archived content and is no longer being updated. At the time of publication, it represented the best available science. However, more recent observations and studies may have rendered some content obsolete.
Anatahan Volcano contains the largest known caldera (crater) in the Northern Mariana Islands. The volcano has been erupting off and on since its largest historical eruption on May 10, 2003, spewing clouds of volcanic gases and ash across a wide region of the Pacific Ocean.
This pair of images shows volcanic emissions spread across hundreds of kilometers in the Pacific. The top image shows seemingly tiny Anatahan Island at far right, while the left-hand side of the scene is clouded with volcanic ash. The image below is a close up of the island, which was still erupting at the time this image was captured by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite on May 27, 2005.
NASA image created by Jesse Allen, Earth Observatory, using data obtained courtesy of the MODIS Rapid Response team.
Anatahan continues to steam after its largest eruption in recorded history on April 6, 2005. This major eruption was a continuation of its third historical eruption, which began early in January 2005. Anatahan is located in the Northern Mariana Islands in the North Pacific Ocean and has been responsible for blanketing Guam and other nearby islands with volcanic haze.