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Report on Manam (Papua New Guinea) — November 1994


Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, vol. 19, no. 11 (November 1994)
Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman.

Manam (Papua New Guinea) Two short eruptions: one produces a lava flow, the other, pyroclastic flows

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1994. Report on Manam (Papua New Guinea) (Wunderman, R., ed.). Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, 19:11. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.BGVN199411-251020


Papua New Guinea

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

"During November, the background level of activity consisted of noiseless weak emissions of white and blue vapour, with weak glow at night. Two short eruptions occurred at South Crater in November. A lava flow was produced on 12-13 November and pyroclastic flows on the 28th.

"On the evening of the 10th, weak incandescent projections were seen just above the crater rim. Nothing could be seen on the 11th, although weak rumbling noises were heard. On the morning of the 12th, white-grey, ash-laden emissions were rising 600-700 m every 3-5 minutes. By night time, moderately strong Strombolian explosions accompanied a forceful dark-brown ash column rising 1-2 km above the crater, with loud rumbling and explosion sounds. Glowing lava fragments rolled down into the SE and SW valleys, and thick ashfall was reported in coastal areas on the ESE side of the island. Lava started to flow out of South Crater into the SE valley at 1900 on 12 November and the flow later stopped with the front at ~700 m elev. The strength of the eruption decreased after 0200 on the 13th, and for the next day and a half, the crater produced high, loud, bright explosions at progressively longer time intervals (from 1-15 minutes apart).

"Weak rumbling sounds and fluctuating glow were reported on the 25th. Intermittent (3-5 minute intervals) forceful emissions of dark ash-laden vapour, accompanied by weak-to-loud rumbling or explosion sounds, were noted on the 26th at 1730. Emissions became sub-continuous by 1900. A period of sub-Plinian activity with high projections of incandescent fragments lasted until the next morning. During 27-28 November, forceful dark emissions occurred at 1-2 minute intervals. The strength of the eruption seemed to increase again after 1030 on the 28th and there were pyroclastic flows in the SE valley at 1330. The eruption waned after ~0400 on the 29th, becoming intermittent, with forceful grey-brown explosions to 1-2 km above the crater and glowing lava fragments to 100-200 m. Unstable products around the vent tumbled into the SE and SW valleys as scoria avalanches.

"Main Crater activity was apparently unaffected by these eruptions. It continued to release white vapour in weak to moderate volumes throughout November. The water-tube tiltmeter at Tabele Observatory showed no significant deflection. No seismograph was operating."

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: B. Talai, R. Stewart, and P. de Saint-Ours, RVO.