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Report on Dawson Strait Group (Papua New Guinea) — December 2000

Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, vol. 25, no. 12 (December 2000)
Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman.

Dawson Strait Group (Papua New Guinea) Occasional seismic swarms 1989-99; no eruptive activity

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2000. Report on Dawson Strait Group (Papua New Guinea) (Wunderman, R., ed.). Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, 25:12. Smithsonian Institution.

Volcano Profile |  Complete Bulletin


Dawson Strait Group

Papua New Guinea

9.62°S, 150.88°E; summit elev. 500 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


During August-October 2000 there were no reports of unusual volcanic activity occurring at Esa'ala (also called the Dawson Strait group). RVO had a 1960s-vintage seismic recorder at Esa'ala until 1994. Since then, maintenance and funding problems have meant it has neither functioned nor been replaced. Discussion with Professor Abe following a seismic survey in the area in the second part of 1999 revealed that he had seen continued seismicity at the Esa'ala base station.

The last notable seismic swarm at Esa'ala before the RVO instrument broke down was in November-December 1992. Another prior swarm of earthquakes took place in mid-December 1989 (BGVN 15:01). RVO maintains a part-time observer at Esa'ala who keeps track of felt earthquakes. He typically reports that no felt earthquakes have occurred.

General References. Davies, H.L., 1973, Fergusson Island, Papua New Guinea-1:250,000 Geological Series: Bur. Miner. Resour. Aust. explan. Notes, SC/56-5.

Smith, I.E.M., 1976, Peralkaline rhyolites from the D'Entrecasteaux Islands, Papua New Guinea, in Johnson, R.W., ed., Volcanism in Australasia: Elsevier, Amsterdam, p. 275-285.

Smith, I.E.M., 1981, Young volcanoes in eastern Papua in Johnson, R.W., ed., Cooke-Ravian Volume of Volcanological Papers: Geological Survey of Papua New Guinea Memoir 10, p. 257-265.

Geologic Background. The Dawson Straits, located between eastern Fergusson and western Normanby Islands in the D'Entrecasteaux island group, contains a volcanic field with several centers that define a possible partly submerged caldera. There have been no historical eruptions, but morphology suggests an extremely young age for some lava flows, and the area displays vigorous thermal activity. The most prominent volcanic centers are Mounts Lamonai and Oiau, located about 10 km apart on the SW tip of Fergusson Island. The summit of Lamonai is capped by a steep-walled crater, and rhyolitic lava flows are exposed on the NE side of the cone. The dominantly volcaniclastic Oiau cone has also produced obsidian lava flows. Dobu Island to the south is formed of coalescing volcanic centers and likewise has produced youthful rhyolitic obsidian flows.

Information Contacts: Ima Itikarai, Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO), P.O. Box 386, Rabaul, Papua New Guinea.