Monday, August 19, 2013

Manam Volcano In Papua New Guinea Sends Ash 15,000 Ft Into The Air

Papua-New Guinea's island volcano Manam has had a very large eruption, sending ash some 15,000 feet into the air, according to John Seach, an Australian volcanologist and frequent source of news from the Southern Hemisphere's volcanoes. John Seach's Twitter feed said about 3 hours ago:


Since I am personally not into Twitter, I have not linked the exact feed, just provided a screenshot, but you can get John's info there. He's a good resource for eruptions the rest of the world doesn't really cover.


3D satellite view of Manam Volcano from Google Earth.


Manam volcano is one of Papua-New Guinea's most active volcanoes, typically erupting several timesa year. This is a larger explosion than normal, and has probably produced some amount of pyroclastic flow. The volcanic was previously inhabited, with sparse villages around the circumference near shorelines, which can still be seen on Google Earth, but no current population remains. The island was abandoned completely in 2004, when 9,000 resudents were relocated. It is unclear at this time what direction the pyroclastic flow (if any) or ashfall is going, but an eruption this large I am assuming might prompt an evacuation.

No other news outlets are covering this eruption as of yet. The only population statistics on the island can be found here. The government had recently updated its disaster preparedness plans due to the large amount of volcanoes both active and dormant in the vicinity. Manam volcano and Papua-New Guinea are part of the Pacific Ring of Fire, a 'ring' of volcanoes that spans the boundaries of the Pacific Plate.

The Smithsonian GVP characterizes the volcano as follows:

"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 1807-m-high basaltic-andesitic stratovolcano to its lower flanks. These "avalanche valleys," regularly spaced 90 degrees apart, 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 historical eruptions have originated from the southern crater, concentrating eruptive products during much of the past century into the SE avalanche valley. Frequent historical eruptions, typically of mild-to-moderate scale, have been recorded at Manam 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."

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