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Report on Manam (Papua New Guinea) — May 1984


Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, vol. 9, no. 5 (May 1984)
Managing Editor: Lindsay McClelland.

Manam (Papua New Guinea) Strombolian activity decreases at mid-month

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1984. Report on Manam (Papua New Guinea) (McClelland, L., ed.). Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, 9:5. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.SEAN198405-251020


Papua New Guinea

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

"Eruptive activity remained at a moderate-high level until 12 May; for the remainder of the month, activity was reduced. Moderate-strong tephra ejections at Southern crater, at rates of up to about 7/minute, were observed until 12 May. The activity produced an eruption column 1-2 km high. At night, incandescent tephra ejections rose about 500 m. Main crater was also more active in this period; emissions had a higher ash content, and crater glow was visible on 1 May. Eruption sound effects included loud roaring and sharp detonations.

"Beginning 13 May, visible activity was significantly weaker, with Southern crater ejections occurring at rates of 1-2/minute. Sound effects changed to muffled detonations and weak rumbling. Main crater emissions were usually thick white vapour, or vapour with light ash content. Throughout the month, ejecta from Southern crater was channelled into the SW valley, where the headwall was often obscured by dust clouds.

"Seismicity 1-12 May was the highest for the entire eruption, peaking at about 16 times normal amplitude on the 10th. A peak in daily earthquake totals of 2,800 on 7 May also occurred in this period. The amplitude of seismic events during May continued to show a marked correlation with solid-earth tides, with maximum amplitudes being recorded when the daily tidal variations were greatest. The number of earthquakes per day showed a similar but less distinct relationship. No significant tilt changes were recorded in May."

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: C. McKee, RVO.