Report on Witori (Papua New Guinea) — 5 March-11 March 2003
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 5 March-11 March 2003
Managing Editor: Gari Mayberry
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2003. Report on Witori (Papua New Guinea). In: Mayberry, G (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 5 March-11 March 2003. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
Papua New Guinea
5.576°S, 150.516°E; summit elev. 724 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
An aerial inspection of Pago's Witori caldera on 28 February revealed that lava continued to flow from the northwestern-most vent as it had in January. Lateral flow of the N lava lobe had slowed since it was last observed, but there was thickening of the lava deposit along the entire body of the flow. The S lava lobe progressed farther S, but at a very slow rate. All lava was contained inside the floor of Witori caldera. Scientists found that vegetation had died on the S side of the volcano due to volcanic gases blowing to the S, rather than from increased volcanic heat. Vapor continued to be emitted from all vents along the fissure system, and in smaller amounts from the main summit crater. Seismicity continued at low levels, with a decline in the number of earthquakes during the previous 2 weeks. Seismic and GPS data from the remote field site were no longer available as of 27 February due to the theft of four solar panels.
Geologic Background. The 5.5 x 7.5 km Witori caldera on the northern coast of central New Britain contains the young historically active cone of Pago. The Buru caldera cuts the SW flank of Witori volcano. The gently sloping outer flanks of Witori volcano consist primarily of dacitic pyroclastic-flow and airfall deposits produced during a series of five major explosive eruptions from about 5600 to 1200 years ago, many of which may have been associated with caldera formation. The post-caldera Pago cone may have formed less than 350 years ago. Pago has grown to a height above that of the Witori caldera rim, and a series of ten dacitic lava flows from it covers much of the caldera floor. The youngest of these was erupted during 2002-2003 from vents extending from the summit nearly to the NW caldera wall.