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Report on Manam (Papua New Guinea) — July 1997


Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, vol. 22, no. 7 (July 1997)
Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman.

Manam (Papua New Guinea) Ash clouds rise 5 km during July

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1997. Report on Manam (Papua New Guinea) (Wunderman, R., ed.). Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, 22:7. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.BGVN199707-251020


Papua New Guinea

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

Aviation reports on 22 March reported Manam's ash plumes rising up to altitudes of 1.7 and 3 km. The plumes drifted S-SE and scattered. Another report described an ash cloud to 3 km on 8 August.

A brief episode of relatively forceful ash emissions occurred at Southern Crater in mid-July. During late June through mid-July, Southern Crater occasionally emitted small-to-moderate ash clouds that rose several hundred meters above the summit. These ash clouds blew NW, resulting in light, fine ashfall.

Water-tube tiltmeters at Manam Volcano Observatory (4 km SW of the summit) underwent 2 µrad of inflation after 1 July, a change as strong as seen during the November-December 1996 eruption. On 11-13 July more robust ash clouds were ejected to 600-1,000 m above the summit resulting in light ashfall downwind. Continuous and forceful ash emissions occurred on 14 July, producing ash clouds that rose over 2 km. Around this time rumbling and roaring noises were also heard. Ash again fell on the NW side of the island. On 15-18 July, ash emissions became weak to moderate; during the rest of July, emissions remained gentle, vapor-rich and weak-to- moderate.

Weak discharges of incandescent lava fragments were only seen on the 11th. Weak night time glows were visible on 11-14 July, 17-18 July, and 25-31 July. Weak steady night glow was visible on 16, 18, and 29 July.

Seismic activity was moderate throughout July. Numbers of low frequency events ranged from 1,000-1,400 per day. Seismic amplitudes gradually increased reaching a peak on the 12th (2 days prior to the month's strongest eruptive phase); thereafter, the amplitudes declined through the month's end.

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 and H. Patia, RVO.