Logo link to homepage

Report on Manam (Papua New Guinea) — August 1984


Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, vol. 9, no. 8 (August 1984)
Managing Editor: Lindsay McClelland.

Manam (Papua New Guinea) Vulcanian explosions; glowing debris avalanches

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1984. Report on Manam (Papua New Guinea) (McClelland, L., ed.). Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, 9:8. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.SEAN198408-251020


Papua New Guinea

4.08°S, 145.037°E; summit elev. 1807 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

"Mild Strombolian activity, which had persisted at Southern crater since mid-May, was interrupted on the evening of 25 August by a series of strong Vulcanian explosions. At 1830 a dense column of ash was ejected about 2 km above the summit by the first and strongest explosion. Fallout of incandescent ejecta from the eruption column produced glowing debris avalanches that descended the SW and SE valleys. Activity remained high for about 1 hour as the explosions continued, then declined rapidly. Seismicity, which had increased dramatically during the strong explosive phase, had returned to `norma1' within a few hours.

"Light ashfalls were experienced in inhabited coastal areas on the W side of the volcano but no damage was caused to property or gardens. However, some people were alarmed by the sudden onset and strong intensity of the eruption. No distinct precursors to the eruption were observed."

Geological Summary. 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 basaltic-andesitic stratovolcano to its lower flanks. These 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 observed eruptions have originated from the southern crater, concentrating eruptive products during much of the past century into the SE valley. Frequent 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.

Information Contacts: C. McKee, RVO.