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Report on Langila (Papua New Guinea) — February 1983


Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, vol. 8, no. 2 (February 1983)
Managing Editor: Lindsay McClelland.

Langila (Papua New Guinea) Explosions build to 6-day Strombolian-Vulcanian event

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1983. Report on Langila (Papua New Guinea) (McClelland, L., ed.). Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, 8:2. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.SEAN198302-252010


Papua New Guinea

5.525°S, 148.42°E; summit elev. 1330 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

"The increased Vulcanian activity of Crater 2 in January culminated in a rise of the magma column, with an eruptive phase maximum 11-16 February. The 3-11 February buildup of the eruption consisted of approximately hour-long periods of loud rumbling noises, with deep explosion sounds at 5-30 second intervals. Several times per day at irregular intervals, individual explosions produced black ash-laden columns that rose as much as 3-4 km before being dissipated by the NW winds. Night glow, observed 3 February, became more intense during this period. Low Strombolian fountaining was visible 3-5 and 9 February.

"During the six days of maximum activity, Crater 2 simultaneously displayed continuous Strombolian fountaining to 100 m and intermittent powerful Vulcanian explosions. Most of the Vulcanian explosions were laterally directed, while the continuous moderate vapour emissions and Strombolian fountaining were central and vertical, leading to the conclusion that Crater 2 may contain two more or less independent vents.

"Seismic activity consisted of a sub-continuous background of harmonic tremor and Strombolian B-type earthquakes. Each individual Vulcanian eruption produced large-amplitude low-period explosion events. The most powerful explosions occurred 12-13 and 15 February at the rate of 2-5 per hour.

"During the eruption, Crater 3 (a separate composite cone 300 m W of Crater 2) released only weak white vapours. However, the volume of emission increased to moderate or large during the first 10 days of February, the time of the activity buildup at Crater 2."

Geological Summary. Langila, one of the most active volcanoes of New Britain, consists of a group of four small overlapping composite basaltic-andesitic cones on the lower E flank of the extinct Talawe volcano in the Cape Gloucester area of NW New Britain. A rectangular, 2.5-km-long crater is breached widely to the SE; Langila was constructed NE of the breached crater of Talawe. An extensive lava field reaches the coast on the N and NE sides of Langila. Frequent mild-to-moderate explosive eruptions, sometimes accompanied by lava flows, have been recorded since the 19th century from three active craters at the summit. The youngest and smallest crater (no. 3 crater) was formed in 1960 and has a diameter of 150 m.

Information Contacts: P. de Saint Ours and P. Lowenstein, RVO.