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Report on Manam (Papua New Guinea) — November 2009


Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, vol. 34, no. 11 (November 2009)
Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman.

Manam (Papua New Guinea) Intermittent ash and glow at both craters during 2009

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2009. Report on Manam (Papua New Guinea) (Wunderman, R., ed.). Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, 34:11. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.BGVN200911-251020


Papua New Guinea

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

The volcano was generally quiet between 2 April 2008 and 26 January 2009, with intermittent ash plumes and vapor emissions (BGVN 34:01). This same pattern of activity at Manam continued through the rest of 2009.

Glow from Main and Southern craters was reported again during January-April, July, September, and October. Thermal anomalies near the summit were recorded by the MODVOLC system on 29 June, 16 July, 8-9 and 17 August, 26 September, and 4 October.

Emissions from both craters during February 2009 consisted of white vapor. A dull glow was visible at night from both craters on 23 and 25 February. Occasional night-time glow was observed in March.

Both Main and Southern craters released variable white vapor on most days in April, seen when the summit was clear. Steady glow from Main Crater was observed on the nights of 6, 17, and 26 April. The earthquake recorder was repaired on 5 April 2009. Seismic activity remained at low level, with the number of daily volcanic earthquakes ranging between 610 and 980 events.

The Darwin VAAC reported that on 13 May an ash plume rose to an altitude of 3 km and drifted ~ 20 km SE. Another ash plume on 8 June rose to an altitude of 2.4 km and drifted ~ 40 km NW.

Mild eruptive activity at Southern Crater began on 11 July. Southern Crater released diffuse white vapor during 1-9 and 14-15 July. Diffuse pale-gray ash clouds were reported on 11 July and from 16 July until the end of the month. The ash plumes rose less than 1 km above the summit before being blown downwind and causing fine ashfall. Weak roaring noises were heard from 18 to 21 July, and fluctuating glow was visible at night on 19, 23-24, and 28-29 July. Main Crater released variable amounts of white vapor on most days in July; however, pale-gray ash clouds were emitted during the last three days of the month. Occasional glow was visible at night on 24 July. Seismic activity was low to moderate, dominated by low-frequency volcanic earthquakes (800 to 1,000 events/day).

Mild eruptions again occurred at Southern Crater on 3-4 September and gray ash clouds rose 600-700 m above the summit. The ash clouds were then blown NW, resulting in fine ashfall on that side of the island. At other times white vapor was released from both craters, accompanied at times by diffuse blue vapor from Southern Crater. Occasional glow was visible from Southern Crater on 2, 9, and 16 September, and from Main Crater on 18, 19, and 23 September. Seismicity remained low to moderate until the seismic system developed power problems on 17 September. Daily totals for the low-frequency earthquakes ranged between 210 and 1,010. No high-frequency earthquakes were recorded.

During October, a steady glow from the two craters began on the 7th. The glow at Southern Crater lasted for a week, while at Main Crater it continued until 20 October.

The Darwin VAAC reported that during 1-2 November ash plumes rose to an altitude of 2.1 km and drifted 35-55 km NW and N. On 12 December an eruption plume rose to an altitude of 3 km and drifted 75 km N; meteorological clouds prevented identification of ash in imagery after the initial advisory was issued.

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: Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO), PO Box 386, Rabaul, Papua New Guinea; Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, NT 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/).