Pagan

Location: 18.1N, 145.8E

Elevation: 570m (1870 ft.)

Area 48 sq. km

Island type: cluster of volcanoes, linked by lava and ash

Pagan is a stratovolcano in the Mariana Islands of the western Pacific Ocean. It is nearly 1,300 miles (2,000 km) south-southeast of Tokyo. Located 173 nautical miles north of Saipan with an area of 18.6 square miles. The island has three volcanoes, one of the northern ones is which is active and separated from the other volcano in the south. The active North volcano emits steam and is frequently veiled by a heavy, sulphurous cloud. The slopes of Mt. Pagan are covered by brown ash and at the base of the mountain, there are two curious lakes. A series o f vertical cliffs cut the island in two. The coast is rocky and unapproachable except on the shores of Eastern Roadstead and Apaan Bay on the west coast.

The largest of 19 historic eruptions was at North Pagan in 1981. The height of the eruption column was 18-20 km. Lava flowed down the northeast, northwest, and southwest flanks of the volcano. Fifty-three residents were evacuated without serious injury. Subsequent eruptions in 1987, 1988, 1992, and 1993 were less explosive. Minor ash eruptions occurred at Pagan in March of 1983. Ashfall was limited to the summit cone. Earthquake activity began to increase beneath Pagan in late 1992.

In January of 1993, a magnitude 5.7 earthquake occurred deep beneath the volcano. Several eruptions occurred early in the year, sending columns of ash over a mile (2-km) above the summit of North Pagan stratovolcano. Bursts of tremor continued during the first half of 1993, indicating intermittent ash eruptions. Minor volcanic activity continued during the remainder of the year. A typical eruption at Pagan followed a set series of events. Activity started with earthquake tremor. A few minutes later gases were emitted. About a minute later ash was erupted. After about 5 minutes, the ash plume reached a height of 2 km.

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Natural threats: volcanic eruptions (1981), cyclones.

Human impact: small population, some cultivation.

Ecosystems: light forest and scrub. Grasslands, swamp.

Special features: active volcanoes with eruption continuing since 1981; freshwater lake with hot sulfur springs, brackish lake; some forest of conservation interest; proposed as marine sanctuary.

Species of conservation interest

Birds:  Megapodius laperouse laperouse (Marianas Megapode) group endemic subspecies, Rare (RDB);  Gallinula chloropus guami (Marianas Gallinule or Common Moorhen) group endemic subspecies, Rare (RDB).

Ratings
Natural Conservation status 1. 
Ecosystem richness 1. 
Species richness 1. 
Economic pressure 0. 
Human threat 1. 
Natural vulnerability 2. 
Practicality of conservation action 1. 
Reliability of data 1. 
Human impact 1. 
Conservation importance 14.


Uracas  Maug   Ascuncion  Agrigan   Pagan  Alamagan   Guguan  Sarigan   Anatahan  Medinilla

Saipan  Tinian   Aguihan  Rota   Guam

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