- 16 June 2002
Savai'i — the largest of all the Samoan islands — lies at the western end of the archipelago, located 18 km northeast, across the Apolima Strait, from Upolu. The island is approximately oval in shape, measuring 70 km in length (east to west) and is up to 46 km in width across the centre, covering an area of 1,708 km².
The island consists of a massive shield volcano of similar form to those of the Hawaiian volcanoes, giving the island a gently sloping profile that reaches a height of 1,858 m at Mt. Silisili — the highest point in the entire archipelago. Being the youngest of the Samoan islands, Savai'i is still volcanically active, with recent eruptions from Matavanu (1905–11), Mata Ole Afi (1902), and Mauga Afi (1725). The Saleaula lava fields resulting from the 1905-1911 eruption at Matavanu are visible in the north coast image. The path of lava flow can be seen as the areas of lighter vegetation leading to the coastal lava fields; the cone of Matavanu itself is also visible. Numerous other cinder cones and lava cones extending along the central crest of the island are visible in the large size images.
image: earth sciences and image analysis laboratory, nasa johnson space center