Marion Island Volcano | John Seach


South Africa
South Indian Ocean

46.90 S, 37.75 E
summit elevation 1230 m
Shield volcanoes

A small volcanic eruption was observed by a member of the South African National Antarctic Programme's over-wintering team on Marion Island in 2004. Gas and small pieces of scoria were emitted during the eruption on 25th June.

Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC)

The Island Group is in the path of one of the world's widest current systems, the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC), which flows clockwise around' the Antarctic continent at a surface speed of 0.5-2km/h.

Over 100 volcanic cones are located on Marion Island, which has been volcanically active over the past 18,000 years. Marion Island is on the edge of the African Continental Plate, where it meets the Antarctic Plate, and is located 1800km south-east of Port Elizabeth, South Africa.

The Island Group has 22 indigenous vascular plant species and 21 alien plant species. There are three seal species on the Island Group - Southern elephant seal, Antarctic fur seal, and sub-Antarctic fur seal. There are no indigenous land mammals on the islands.

The Island Group supports 29 species of breeding birds as well as 22 species of vagrant seabirds and 28 species of non-marine vagrant species.

Marion Island has three perennial streams. There are no indigenous fish in the freshwater environments.

There was an emergency crash landing of a light aircraft during 2002 on Marion Island.

2004 Eruption
A small eruption occurred at Marion Island on 24th June 2004. Gas and scoria were erupted.

1980 Eruption
The first historical eruption at Marion Island volcano was observed in the first week of November 1980. Two new cinder cones, three small lava flows, and recent tephra deposits were found on the western side of the island. A lava flow on the western (seaward) flank of the summit cone had poured over nearby cliffs 50-70 m high and ponded in a small amphitheater-like area at their base.

Further reading
Chevallier, Luc. "Tectonics of Marion and Prince Edward volcanoes (Indian Ocean): result of regional control and edifice dynamics." Tectonophysics 124.1-2 (1986): 155-175.

Marion Island Volcano Eruptions

2004, 1980