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The elongate, 9-km-long island of Anatahan in the central Mariana Islands consists of large stratovolcano with a 2.3 x 5 km, E-W-trending compound summit caldera. 

Quick Facts

Location: Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands

Latitude: 16.35° N

Longitude: 145.67° E

Elevation: 790 (m) 2,592 (f)

Volcano type: Stratovolcano

Composition: Basalt - Dacite

Most recent eruption: 2008 CE

Threat Potential: Moderate*

*based on the National Volcano Early Warning System


The elongate, 9-km-long island of Anatahan in the central Mariana Islands consists of large stratovolcano with a 2.3 x 5 km, E-W-trending compound summit caldera. The larger western portion of the caldera is 2.3 x 3 km wide, and its western rim forms the island's 790-m high point. Ponded lava flows overlain by pyroclastic deposits fill the floor of the western caldera, whose SW side is cut by a fresh-looking smaller crater. The 2-km-wide eastern portion of the caldera contained a steep-walled inner crater whose floor prior to the 2003 eruption was only 68 m above sea level. A submarine volcano, NE Anatahan, rises to within 460 m of the sea surface on the NE flank of the volcano, and numerous other submarine vents are found on the NE-to-SE flanks. Sparseness of vegetation on the most recent lava flows on Anatahan had indicated that they were of Holocene age, but the first historical eruption of Anatahan did not occur until May 2003, when a large explosive eruption took place forming a new crater inside the eastern caldera. From the Smithsonian Global Volcanism Program.



Volcano Watch — Why monitor volcanoes of the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands?


Volcano Watch — Anatahan Volcano's ash clouds reach new heights


Volcano Watch — Anatahan Volcano reawakens


Volcanic hazards in the Pacific U.S. Territories

The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, and American Samoa lie along the western side of the famed Pacific Ring of Fire. Here, the processes of active island and submarine volcanoes produce activity both underwater and in the atmosphere that poses potential hazards to the daily lives of residents and travelers. Since 2000, CNMI volcanoes have erupted six times, and one submarine vo
Gabrielle Tepp, Brian Shiro, William W. Chadwick

2018 update to the U.S. Geological Survey national volcanic threat assessment

When erupting, all volcanoes pose a degree of risk to people and infrastructure, however, the risks are not equivalent from one volcano to another because of differences in eruptive style and geographic location. Assessing the relative threats posed by U.S. volcanoes identifies which volcanoes warrant the greatest risk-mitigation efforts by the U.S. Geological Survey and its partners. This update

John W. Ewert, Angela K. Diefenbach, David W. Ramsey

The May 2003 eruption of Anatahan volcano, Mariana Islands: Geochemical evolution of a silicic island-arc volcano

The first historical eruption of Anatahan volcano began on May 10, 2003. Samples of tephra from early in the eruption were analyzed for major and trace elements, and Sr, Nd, Pb, Hf, and O isotopic compositions. The compositions of these tephras are compared with those of prehistoric samples of basalt and andesite, also newly reported here. The May 2003 eruptives are medium-K andesites with 59–63 w
J.A. Wade, T. Plank, R.J. Stern, D.L. Tollstrup, J.B. Gill, J. C. O'Leary, J.M. Eiler, R. B. Moore, J.D. Woodhead, F. Trusdell, T.P. Fischer, David R. Hilton