The US Geological Survey (USGS) has upgraded the Aviation Color Code/Volcano Alert Level for Pagan Volcano to ORANGE/WATCH earlier this morning following the observation of low-level emissions from the volcano for most of September 1, 2021.
After a brief pause in the emissions, a continuous low-level gas and ash plume extending 350 nautical miles from Pagan Volcano was observed in satellite images from this morning indicating that activity is continuing. The Aviation Color Code/Volcano Alert Level remains at ORANGE/WATCH.
Under the USGS alert-level system for volcanic activity, ORANGE/WATCH means the volcano is exhibiting heightened or escalating unrest with increased potential of eruption (timeframe uncertain) or that an eruption is underway with no or minor volcanic-ash emissions but poses limited hazards.
As a precautionary measure, Governor Ralph DLG. Torres, through the CNMI Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM) advises mariners and the general public to avoid venturing into the immediate area around Pagan for their safety.
“We continue to coordinate with our federal partners through our team at HSEM about the evolving situation in Pagan. We ask our residents and boaters to steer clear from the immediate area around Pagan. The safety and protection of our residents are a paramount priority, and we will continue to work closely with USGS on next steps forward,” said Governor Torres.
Mount Pagan is not monitored with ground-based geophysical instrumentation. USGS has indicated that it will continue to evaluate satellite imagery, distal geophysical data, and mariner reports when available, but because the volcano is not monitored with ground-based instruments, we cannot provide advanced warning of activity.
This is an evolving situation. HSEM and the Office of the Governor will continue to provide updates moving forward.
For more information, please visit the following:
CNMI Homeland Security and Emergency Management
USGS Northern Mariana Duty Scientist (808) 967-8815
Satellite information, Washington VAAC