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Report on Ulawun (Papua New Guinea) — 19 July-25 July 2023


Smithsonian Institution / US Geological Survey
Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 19 July-25 July 2023
Managing Editor: Sally Sennert.

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2023. Report on Ulawun (Papua New Guinea) (Sennert, S, ed.). Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 19 July-25 July 2023. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Weekly Report (19 July-25 July 2023)


Papua New Guinea

5.05°S, 151.33°E; summit elev. 2334 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

RVO reported that minor ash emissions at Ulawun began on 18 July, and during the morning of 19 July brown-to-gray emissions with low ash content were rising a few hundred meters above the crater rim and drifting SE. During 20-25 July steam-and-gas plumes with minor-to-moderate amounts of ash rose from the summit crater and rapidly dispersed. The emissions drifted in various directions, but mainly NW; minor ashfall was reported in areas downwind. Sulfur dioxide emissions were detected in satellite images on 21 and 24 July. Seismicity had begun increasing on 16 July, with RSAM values climbing at a slow but erratic rate, and peaking on 18 July. Afterwards RSAM values decreased and remained at low levels (150-200); seismicity was dominated by continuous volcanic tremors. RSAM values steadily increased to 550 during 0400-1400 on 22 July and fluctuated at moderate levels of 300-350 through 23 July. Values were variable on 24 July between values of 400 to 700. The Alert Level remained at Stage 1 (the lowest level on a four-level scale).

Geological Summary. The symmetrical basaltic-to-andesitic Ulawun stratovolcano is the highest volcano of the Bismarck arc, and one of Papua New Guinea's most frequently active. The volcano, also known as the Father, rises above the N coast of the island of New Britain across a low saddle NE of Bamus volcano, the South Son. The upper 1,000 m is unvegetated. A prominent E-W escarpment on the south may be the result of large-scale slumping. Satellitic cones occupy the NW and E flanks. A steep-walled valley cuts the NW side, and a flank lava-flow complex lies to the south of this valley. Historical eruptions date back to the beginning of the 18th century. Twentieth-century eruptions were mildly explosive until 1967, but after 1970 several larger eruptions produced lava flows and basaltic pyroclastic flows, greatly modifying the summit crater.

Source: Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO)