Volcanic patterns at Saleaula Lava Field on Savai'i, Samoa
Saleaula Lava Field, Savai'i

Volcanic Islands

 

Samoa is made up of a series of volcanic islands, some of which are still active, including its largest island, Savai’i.

Volcanic eruptions account for many of the country’s fascinating landforms such as massive lava tubes and spectacular rocky coastline, created when lava reached cold seawater.

The country’s most recent eruption was Savai’i's Mt Matavanu, which occurred between 1905 to 1911.

Although the lava flow wiped out five villages and several churches, it was so slow-moving that everyone had ample time to escape to Upolu Island without fatalities. Those who left resettled in a new village called Le'auva'a, which today is still home to the descendent of this group.

A visual reminder of the volcanic eruption is the skeleton of a church near the Saleaula Lava Fields, which remained standing as lava surrounded and flowed through it to reach the island’s north-eastern coast.

Samoa’s main island Upolu, too, is a volcanic island, but the last three eruptions are estimated to be a few hundred to a thousand years ago.

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