Report on Manam (Papua New Guinea) — 5 December-11 December 2018
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 5 December-11 December 2018
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2018. Report on Manam (Papua New Guinea). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 5 December-11 December 2018. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
Papua New Guinea
4.08°S, 145.037°E; summit elev. 1807 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
The Darwin VAAC reported that on 6 December ash plumes from Manam were identified in satellite images rising to an altitude of 5.2 km (17,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifting SE. RVO noted that at 1215 on 8 December seismicity increased and indicated an eruption had begun, according to a news article. The eruption was characterized by forceful ash emissions, explosions that ejected lava fragments above the crater, and rumbling and roaring noises. Around 1300, based on pilot observations, information from RVO, and satellite images, large ash plumes rose as high as 15.2 km (50,000 ft) a.s.l and drifted E. Island reports noted that ejections of material ceased around 1900; audible noises ended around 1930. Satellite data indicated that ash from the high-altitude plume had begun to dissipate by 2020, and that on-going ash emissions rose to 8.2 km (27,000 ft) a.s.l. Island residents described heavy ashfall and that the sun was blocked by airborne ash, based on second-hand social media posts. News reports indicated that residents in Bokure and Kolang (NE and ENE flanks, respectively) had evacuated. Seismicity had declined by the end of the day. Dark ash plumes continued to be visible the next day, rising as high as 7.6 km (25,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifting E, though were less frequent.
Geologic Background. The 10-km-wide island of Manam, lying 13 km off the northern coast of mainland Papua New Guinea, is one of the country's most active volcanoes. Four large radial valleys extend from the unvegetated summit of the conical 1807-m-high basaltic-andesitic stratovolcano to its lower flanks. These "avalanche valleys" channel lava flows and pyroclastic avalanches that have sometimes reached the coast. Five small satellitic centers are located near the island's shoreline on the northern, southern, and western sides. Two summit craters are present; both are active, although most historical eruptions have originated from the southern crater, concentrating eruptive products during much of the past century into the SE valley. Frequent historical eruptions, typically of mild-to-moderate scale, have been recorded since 1616. Occasional larger eruptions have produced pyroclastic flows and lava flows that reached flat-lying coastal areas and entered the sea, sometimes impacting populated areas.