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Report on Bagana (Papua New Guinea) — February 1986


Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, vol. 11, no. 2 (February 1986)
Managing Editor: Lindsay McClelland.

Bagana (Papua New Guinea) New extrusive phase

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1986. Report on Bagana (Papua New Guinea) (McClelland, L., ed.). Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, 11:2. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.SEAN198602-255020


Papua New Guinea

6.137°S, 155.196°E; summit elev. 1855 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

"A new extrusive phase from Bagana's summit crater commenced on 16 February. The extrusion was preceded by several days' increase in seismicity, including three periods of 'tremor,' 30 minutes long (on the 5th and 6th) and an increase in the number of B-type events after the 10th. An increase in the amount of vapour released from the crater was also noted from the 7th onward.

"On the 16th, the vapour cloud became thick and coloured, while the seismicity rose suddenly to 140-175 events/day. From that night until the 21st, weak night glow from the crater was observed and extrusions of lava resulted in numerous incandescent avalanches of boulders on the NW, N, and NE flanks of the cone.

"At the end of the month, seismicity was still at a high level (>100 events/day), with periods of 'tremor' (on the 20th, 26th, and 28th), although visible activity had declined.

"Similar phases of extrusive activity occurred in November 1985 and January 1986 and resulted in increased movement of the long-established blocky lava flow down the N flank of the volcano."

Geological Summary. Bagana volcano, in a remote portion of central Bougainville Island, is frequently active. This massive symmetrical cone was largely constructed by an accumulation of viscous andesitic lava flows. The entire edifice could have been constructed in about 300 years at its present rate of lava production. Eruptive activity is characterized by non-explosive effusion of viscous lava that maintains a small lava dome in the summit crater, although occasional explosive activity produces pyroclastic flows. Lava flows with tongue-shaped lobes up to 50 m thick and prominent levees descend the flanks on all sides.

Information Contacts: P. Lowenstein, RVO.