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Report on Bagana (Papua New Guinea) — April 2007


Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, vol. 32, no. 4 (April 2007)
Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman.

Bagana (Papua New Guinea) Almost daily thermal anomalies over past year; plumes and glow

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2007. Report on Bagana (Papua New Guinea) (Wunderman, R., ed.). Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, 32:4. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.BGVN200704-255020


Papua New Guinea

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

Brief periods of effusive activity took place during January to mid-April 2006 (BGVN 31:05), with ash-and-steam emissions reported as late as 18 June 2006. Activity has continued since that time through early June 2007, with evidence coming from either MODIS thermal satellite data, observations of glow, or plume observations from the ground or satellites (figure 8). It appears that there were three episodes of increased plume generation, two periods of frequent glow observations, and almost daily MODIS anomalies over that one-year time frame.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 8. Summary of daily activity at Bagana, 18 June 2006-5 June 2007. Plumes are all varieties (steam or ash) reported by RVO or Darwin VAAC; glow as reported by RVO; MODIS data indicates days with at least one thermal pixel detected. Compiled from MODIS/HIGP data, Darwin VAAC reports, and RVO reports.

The Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO) noted that between 18 September and 4 December 2006 only white vapor was released; some of these emissions were forceful. Jet engine-like roaring noises were heard on 11 and 20 November. Variable glow was visible on 25-26 September, 15, 20, and 29 October, 15-21 November, and 4 December. The lava flow on the S flank was active only on 15 October.

There were no aviation warnings after June until a diffuse plume became visible on satellite imagery on 22 November. Based on satellite imagery, the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC) reported subsequent plumes on 5 December (ash), 21-22 December (ash-and steam), and 9 January 2007.

RVO reported that white vapor emissions from the summit crater continued during 10 January-21 May 2007. Emissions were occasionally forceful and were accompanied by ash clouds on 3 and 17 March, as well as 1 and 3-5 April. Summit incandescence was visible on 7, 8, 20, and 24 March, and 17 May. Based on satellite imagery, the Darwin VAAC reported diffuse plumes to altitudes of 2.4 and 3 km on 10 March and 20 May, respectively. Forceful, white emissions on 21 May produced plumes that rose to an altitude of 2.3 km and drifted W. Diffuse ash-and-steam plumes were seen in satellite images again on 22 and 28 May, rising to altitudes of 3.7 and 3 km, respectively.

Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometers (MODIS) satellite thermal anomaly data reported by the Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) revealed frequent thermal anomalies during 20 June-24 July 2006, 16 August-3 October 2006, 9 November 2006-23 January 2007, and 13 February-2 June 2007.

Geological Summary. Bagana volcano, occupying a remote portion of central Bougainville Island, is one of Melanesia's youngest and most active volcanoes. 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 frequent and characterized by non-explosive effusion of viscous lava that maintains a small lava dome in the summit crater, although explosive activity occasionally producing pyroclastic flows also occurs. Lava flows form dramatic, freshly preserved tongue-shaped lobes up to 50 m thick with prominent levees that descend the flanks on all sides.

Information Contacts: Herman Patia, Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO), P.O. Box 386, Rabaul, Papua New Guinea; Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, Northern Territory 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) Hot Spots System, University of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/).