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Report on Krummel-Garbuna-Welcker (Papua New Guinea) — February 2008


Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, vol. 33, no. 2 (February 2008)
Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman.

Krummel-Garbuna-Welcker (Papua New Guinea) Ash emissions during March 2008

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2008. Report on Krummel-Garbuna-Welcker (Papua New Guinea) (Wunderman, R., ed.). Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, 33:2. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.BGVN200802-252070


Papua New Guinea

5.416°S, 150.027°E; summit elev. 564 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

Garbuna again began to erupt in March 2008. Prior to that, during late June 2007, the summit continued to release variable volumes of white vapor. Occasional increases in volume caused concern in local communities, although noises and night-time glow were absent. An investigation by the West New Britain Disaster Office indicated no other increased activity or emission of solid material. Vapor emissions from the active vent continued through October 2007. Through the end of 2007 and into January and February 2008 activity was characteristically uneventful, with no indication of an eruption.

A new eruption began on 11 March 2008. Gray ash clouds rose less than a kilometer above the summit before being blown SW, causing fine ashfall. Occasional booming noises were heard accompanying the ash emissions. Ash emissions continued on 12-13 March, and reports indicated most of the ash fell in the summit area. On 14-15 March the odor of sulfur was reported downwind. No glow was visible at night. Around this time, observations from the Kulingai Volcano Observatory (15 km SE) noted white vapor emissions from numerous vents at the summit area. During 17-18 March activity increased slightly with forceful and continuous emission of white vapor. Emissions rose vertically less than a kilometer before dissipating. There were no noises heard and no glow visible at night. A strong smell of sulfur was again noted to the E.

All of the monitoring equipment installed during 2005 and 2006 was destroyed. The two GPS stations at the summit and at the base remained out of service, and for most of the reporting interval there was no functioning seismometer. Seismicity began to be monitored using a KD1 recorder, along with a portable seismometer to the E, at SiSi village. Seismicity fluctuated between low and moderate levels. On 17 March, seismicity increased to a moderate level characterized by non-overlapping tremor. Only three high-frequency volcano-tectonic earthquakes were noted during the first day of recording; no low-frequency events were recorded. Seismicity declined on 18 March but rose to a moderate level on 19 March.

Geological Summary. The basaltic-to-dacitic Krummel-Garbuna-Welcker Volcanic Complex consists of three volcanic peaks located along a 7-km N-S line above a shield-like foundation at the southern end of the Willaumez Peninsula. The central and lower peaks of the centrally located Garbuna contain a large vegetation-free area that is probably the most extensive thermal field in Papua New Guinea. A prominent lava dome and blocky lava flow in the center of thermal area have resisted destruction by thermal activity, and may be of Holocene age. Krummel volcano at the south end of the group contains a summit crater, breached to the NW. The highest peak of the group is Welcker volcano, which has fed blocky lava flows that extend to the eastern coast of the peninsula. The last major eruption from both it and Garbuna volcanoes took place about 1800 years ago. The first historical eruption took place at Garbuna in October 2005.

Information Contacts: Herman Patia, Steve Saunders, and Felix Taranu, Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO), PO Box 3386, Rabaul, E.N.B.P, Papua New Guinea.