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Report on Bagana (Papua New Guinea) — 5 July-11 July 2023


Smithsonian Institution / US Geological Survey
Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 5 July-11 July 2023
Managing Editor: Sally Sennert.

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2023. Report on Bagana (Papua New Guinea) (Sennert, S, ed.). Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 5 July-11 July 2023. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Weekly Report (5 July-11 July 2023)


Papua New Guinea

6.137°S, 155.196°E; summit elev. 1855 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

An explosive eruption at Bagana on 7 July send a large ash, gas, and steam plume to high altitudes and caused significant ashfall in local communities. A report issued by the Autonomous Bougainville Government (Torokina District, Education Section) on 10 July noted that significant ash began falling during 2000-2100 on 7 July and covered most areas in the Vuakovi, Gotana (9 km SW), Koromaketo, Laruma and Atsilima villages. By about 2200 on 7 July the eruption plume had reached upper tropospheric altitudes based on satellite images. Sulfur dioxide detections in satellite images from 8 July indicated that the plume, likely a mixture of gases, ice, and ash, had risen to 16-18 km (52,500-59,100 ft) a.s.l., reaching the tropopause. Ashfall reportedly continued until 9 July. The ashfall covered vegetation, destroying bushes and gardens, and contaminated rivers and streams used for washing and drinking water; residents drank from coconuts and used fresh ground water accessible through bamboo pipes.

Geological Summary. Bagana volcano, in a remote portion of central Bougainville Island, is frequently active. This massive symmetrical cone was largely constructed by an accumulation of viscous andesitic lava flows. The entire edifice could have been constructed in about 300 years at its present rate of lava production. Eruptive activity is characterized by non-explosive effusion of viscous lava that maintains a small lava dome in the summit crater, although occasional explosive activity produces pyroclastic flows. Lava flows with tongue-shaped lobes up to 50 m thick and prominent levees descend the flanks on all sides.

Sources: Andrew Tupper, Natural Hazards Consulting, Simon Carn, Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO), Autonomous Bougainville Government