Active volcanoes / Aktive vulkaner:

Manam, Papua New Guinea   

Photo Courtesy - Dr. "Jack" Lockwood(SWVRC)

The 10-km-wide island of Manam, lying 13 km off the northern coast of 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 arelocated near the island's shoreline on the northern, southern and
western sides. Two summitcraters are present; both are active, although most historical eruptions
have originated from thesouthern crater, concentrating eruptive products during the past century
into the SE avalanche valley. Frequent historical eruptions have been recorded at Manam since 1616.
A major eruption in 1919 produced pyroclastic flows that reached the coast, and in 1957-58
pyroclastic flows descended all four radial valleys. Lava flows reached the sea in 1946-47
and 1958. Manam has previously erupted in year 2004. View map here.

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012
A new series of eruptions have begun on Manam Island off Madang in Papua New Guinea, with warnings to residents to take precautions.
Vents on the volcano are glowing at nights and explosions in the craters can be heard more than 15 kilometres away.
There has been an ongoing mild eruptive activity happening at one of the craters on the side of Manam.
That activity has consisted of occasional plumes, coming up every now and then, with a bright glow at night.

It's possibility of a major explosion cannot be ruled out, but it's not imminent.

August 19th, 2010
The Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO) has reported that incandescence from Manam's South Crater was
visible at 4-5 minute intervals on the 10th of August. The next day diffuse black ash plumes rose a few
hundred metres above the rim. Steady incandescence was accompanied by periodic ejections of lava fragments
ejected 400-500 m above the rim. Main Crater emitted diffuse white vapour.
Based on analysis of satellite imagery, the Darwin VAAC reported that on the 14th of August ash plumes
rose to an altitude of 2.4 km (8,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted 55 km NW.

Read more about the tragic of the Manam people here


Monday, December 20th, 2004
As of the 20th of December, the Rabaul Volcanological Observatory RVO) reported that the alert level has been increased to 3 (out of 4) at Manam volcano after a large eruption of ash occurred on Sunday 19th December. Ash was calculated to have reached an altitude of 50,000 ft, and drifted 250 nautical miles WSW
of Manam. The ash cloud dissipated after about 12 hours. This sequence of events indicates that Manam volcano is still dangerous, and there is a possibility of continued large eruptions which threatens the safety of anyone still on the island. The aviation colour code is red, indicating the volcano is currently erupting.
Wednesday, December 15th, 2004
Period of activity: 14th (08:00 a.m.) - 15th (08:00 a.m.) December 2004
Main Crater released forceful emissions of moderate dark grey ash clouds. The ash plume rose several
hundred meters above the summit and drifted to the east and northeast resulting in light ash on the east and northeast part of the island, including Warisi village. Occasional sub-continuous weak roaring and rumbling noises were heard. At night weak to bright fluctuating glow was visible. Weak projections of glowing lava fragments occurred at long intervals.

Southern Crater released thin volumes of whitish vapour. Occasionally very weak roaring and rumbling noises were heard. At night steady weak glow was visible. Weak projections of glowing lava fragments also occurred from Southern Crater at long intervals.

Sunday, December 12th, 2004
Moderate eruptive activity commenced from the Main Crater early this morning at 03:00 a.m.

The eruptive activity at the Main Crater changed to strombolian-type eruption early this
morning at about 03:00 a.m. The activity was characterised by continuous projections of
glowing lava fragments that rose some hundred meters above the summit crater and sub-
continuous weak to loud roaring and rumbling noises. A further increase was noted at about
06:30 a.m. when sub-continuous emissions of pale to dark-grey ash clouds became forceful.
Occasional weak roaring and rumbling noises like 'jet engines' also became pronounced.
Very fine light ash fell at Warisi village.

Weak fluctuating glow and occasional weak projections of glowing lava fragments were
observed from the Southern Crater at long intervals. Audible noises consisting of weak roaring
and rumbling noises were also heard at long intervals. At daybreak puffs of thin light brown
ash emissions were visible. There was slight increase in seismicity. Activity was at high level.
Volcanic tremors were recorded. RVO

Friday, December 10th, 2004

NASA Space photo from around Dec. 1st. 2004

Dark smoke and ash is still coming from the main crater, a column rises few hundred meters.
South crater now emitting white smoke, but still glowing at night.
The trend of eruptive activity since the strong strombolian to sub-plinian eruption on 23rd November has been low to moderate. Furthermore during the past few days the trend has been showing a slow steady decline. Subsequently, it is recommended that the alert level be downgraded to Stage 2.

Monday, December 6th, 2004

Manam Islanders boading the Motuan Chief in the evacuation exercise.
© Nationalpic by BONNEY BONSELLA

THE volcanic eruption on Manam Island in the Madang province has so far claimed five lives –
two elderly women and three children between the ages of 5-13.
The coordinator of the Manam evacuation exercise confirmed the deaths, adding that the
deaths were linked to respiratory complications resulting from inhaling volcanic ashes and dust.
One of the deaths was that of an elderly women from Bokure village recorded early last week
at the Bogia District hospital. She died after being admitted to the hospital for respiratory complications.
One child, a little boy, died on Friday at the Asuramba care centre after suffering pneumonia.
Three others – an adult women and two other children – had died during earlier volcanic
activity on Manam. Five people from Dugulaba village were also saved from mudflows in the
early hours of Thursday last week. All survivors were treated for shock with an elderly women
also treated for minor injuries.
976 inhabitants was evacuated from Kuluguma village to Bogia on Wednesday morning.
© The National

Sundag, December 5th, 2004
A slight change in activity was noted at Southern Crater at about mid-afternoon.
The change was marked by commencement of sub-continuous weak to moderate roaring and
rumbling noises. The noises continued at 10:00 p.m. Early in the evening when it became dark
and visibility became clear between 06:00 p.m. and 06:08 p.m., sub-continuous lava fountaining
was observed. Good visibility again between 08:30 p.m. and 09:08 p.m. and 09:30 p.m. and
10:00 p.m. exposed high lava fountaining. The above description suggests mild strombolian
eruption was in progress at Southern Crater.

Sub-continuous, forceful moderate thick dark grey-brown ash-laden clouds continued from
the Main Crater. They were visible above the atmospheric clouds. The ash plume rose between
about 600 and 900 meters above the summit and drifted to the east and northeast. Light ashfall
and fine scoria fell at Abaria and Bokure 1 villages. Fluctuating audible noises consisting of low
roaring and 'jet engine-type' continued. Occasionally loud roaring noises were heard. Visibility
was poor due to volcanic ash clouds from both craters, however within the clouds weak to
bright fluctuating glow was visible. RVO

Wednesday, December 1st, 2004

Manam islanders covered in ash, stand around their wrecked homes.HEAVY ashfall has rendered gardens and water
sources on Manam Island useless.

© The Post Courier Online

The Papua New Guinea Red Cross Society has been moving inrelief supplies as well as
tents for shelter for the islanders. This week, efforts have begun in resettling islanders
displaced by the eruption of the Manam volcano to the mainland, and so far 1.300
people has been transferred. The island-boat only takes about 400-500 passengers
at a time, so it will take another two weeks to have all people evacuated, even as they now
say they are using smaller dinghies for the trip. (But then again, this must also depend
on the weather conditions..
© The Post Courier Online
Red Cross has sent out the following report:
Heavy ashfall has rendered gardens and water sources on Manam Island useless.
Even villagers can’t escape the ashfall from continuing explosions from the volcano which
started in early October. Meanwhile the situation is getting worse.
Reports reaching the Red Cross Society headquarters over the weekend revealed there
was a growing influx of people seeking refuge and safety in Bogia and Madang.
The PNG Society with assistance from the International Federation of Red Cross and
Red Crescent Societies and New Zealand Red Cross, has already started supplying
emergency relief assistance to the volcano affected victims on Manam.
The Madang branch has supplied water containers and tarpaulins and is distributing food
which was donated.
Reports from Red Cross staff and volunteers in Madang say water and sanitation is a major problem in the resettlement areas. Clean and safe water is more than a kilometre’s walk away.
Bathing and laundry is done using water from dug out wells, which are infested with mosquitoes.
Tarpaulins supplied by PNG Red Cross are used to house mostly mothers, the young and
On Saturday about 100 more people were evacuated to Bogia from Manam with more
coming out in private motorised dinghies. People coming in from Manam say the situation is getting worse
with people now falling ill.

Manama erupting on November 15, 2004, when the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) flew overhead on NASA’s Terra satellite. In this true-color image, dark ash rises from the volcano and is drifting southwest over Papua New Guinea.
NASA image courtesy Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC

Monday, November 29th, 2004

November 28th, 18.00 local time

The following report has been received from RVO for period of activity:
: 28th (08:00 a.m.) - 29th (06:00 a.m.) November 2004 (UTC -11 hrs)

The moderate eruptive activity from Main Crater that began after 1600hrs on 26th continued until 0600hrs
this morning (29th).

November 26th, 06.00 local time

The summit activity was similar as previously reported. The ash clouds were rising less than a kilometer above the summit before being blown to E-SE of the island. Occasional fine ash fall was reported at Warisi during the reported period. Weak roaring noises were heard only between 1900hrs (28th) and 0000hrs (29th). A weak glow with weak projections of incandescent lava fragments was visible last night.

Southern Crater released thin white vapour only. There was no noises heard. However, a weak glow was visible between 1900hrs (28th) and 0000hrs (29th).

Sunday, November 28th, 2004
The following report has been received from RVO for period of activity:
27th (08:00 a.m.) - 28th (08:00 a.m.) November 2004

The slight increase in eruptive activity from Manam's Main Crater that began after 1600hrs
on 26th continued until 0800hrs this morning (28th).
The eruptive activity consisted of continuous sub-forceful to forceful emission of thick dark
grey ash clouds. The ash clouds were rising less than a kilometer above the summit before
being blown by the shifting N-NE and N-NW winds. Fine ash fall was reported at Warisi
early this morning. Only three weak roaring noises were heard yesterday. Weak to bright
fluctuating glow was visible last night. Southern Crater released thin white vapour only.

Excerpts from The Age, Australia:
Hundreds of villagers were evacuated from the island after claiming the lives of two people
who drank ash-contaminated water. The deaths of a woman and a child on the island have
been blamed on the ash-contaminated water they drank.

An official with the Provincial Disaster Office in Madang province, said a landing barge had
carried about 600 islanders from Manam Island to the mainland.

Ash had settled in some places two to three metres deep and it would take a long time for
the vegetation to recover. Many islanders might not be able to return for years and some
would have to be permanently resettled on the mainland.

Officials were finding tents for the evacuees until they could build their own shelters.
The problem will be to get these people settled so they will be able to look after themselves.
It is going to be a problem for the government to feed them for some time, for six months or so.

Saturday, November 27th, 2004
We have received the following update from Rabaul Volcano Observatory:
Period of activity: 26th (08:00 a.m.) - 27th (08:00 a.m.) November 2004
(17.00 Thursday - 17.00 Friday GMT/UTC)
A slight increase in eruptive activity from Manam's Main Crater began after 1600hrs
yesterday and continued until 0800hrs this morning (27th).

The summit activity consisted of continuous forceful emission of thick dark grey ash clouds
that rose less than a kilometer above the summit before being blown to the NW of the island.
Fine ash fall on the NW of the island at Zogari and Iassa villages was reported from about
1700hrs LT. Only a single weak roaring noise was heard between 0600hrs and 0700hrs this
morning. Nil glow was visible last night. Southern Crater released thin white vapour only.

Seismicity was at moderate to moderate high level from 2300hrs and 0800hrs this morning.
Volcanic tremors continue to be recorded suggesting the system is still dynamic and therefore
variable eruptive activity may continue to occur. Sporadic phases of stronger eruptive activity
are also expected to occur.

Villagers near the four main valleys should remain away from them as much as possible due
to unexpected rapid increase in activity. Also people should move away from downwind
areas during an eruption to avoid scoria and ash fall. Furthermore due to continuous ashfall
since 24th October and periods of light rainfall, mudflows may occur. In addition, ash
loading on weak bush material houses may cause them to collapse.

Friday, November 26th, 2004

Latest: 12.00 Centr.Eu.time:
Madang Regional MP and Inter-Government Relations Minister flew into the area in his
helicopter when he learnt of the eruption yesterday morning. The Minister reported that the
entire side of the mountain for approximately one kilometre wide blew out, with lava still
discharging into the sea between Warisi and Dugalava.
He said the eruption has subsided considerably when he returned to Madang at 3pm
but it is still erupting with violent noise.
He said at Bien, he was hit with rocks in the helicopter which have damaged his windscreen,
preventing him from getting around the island between Bien, Yassa, Jorai and Tabele
which is the area being hit with most of the dust and rocks.
The National
Red Cross and other international organizations are now sending help to Papua New Guinea
to bring relief to the people on the island.

Manam evacuation
More than 9000 people from Manam Island will be evacuated to the mainland starting today.
The evacuation will start with four villages in the north of the island that are the most affected
by the increase in volcanic activity, causing heavier ash fall and discharge of volcanic rocks.
The four villages are Kolang 1 and 2, Bokure, Abaria and Warisi. Next to follow will be
Boda and Kuluguma, then villagers from Zogari, Yassa and Waia, followed by Madauri and
Budua, Dangale, Baliau, Boisa Island and Dugulava. People in these villages will be evacuated
to three care centres at Potsdam, Asuramba, Daigul and Mangen plantations on the Bogia
coast. Daigul is planned to be the permanent settlement.

The ship is expected to make five trips across the passage. Disaster officials yesterday met in
Madang to decide on the evacuation following renewed volcanic activity. Although the alert is
still at stage 3 level, the disaster officials felt it was important to evacuate the islanders as there
had been increased ash fall and rock discharge from the volcano. Officials also fear mudflows
when the rain season sets in.

A medical team led by a doctor from the Modilon Hospital left last night for Bogia to attend to people
suffering from diseases and injuries as a result of the volcanic activity.
The Post Courier Online, Papua New Guinea

Thursday, November 25th, 2004
Voluntary evacuations have begun. The volcano has yesterday coughed up lava and large
rocks. An aviation red alert was issued for aircraft to avoid the area, with an ash plume
extending 130 km (80 miles) southeast of Manam.

The Manam people's food gardens and water sources have been severely affected by the
continuous ash falls from the Manam volcano since October 24. Hunger is setting in because
the islanders have lost their food gardens over the past month .

Emergency officials said an area was being cleared on the mainland for a possible full-scale evacuation of Manam's 9,600 islanders. Evacuation becomes compulsory if volcanic activity intensifies and reaches stage 4.
Some 20 bush homes have collapsed due to mud rain and five people have been injured

Wednesday, November 24th, 2004
NEW eruptions from a volcano on Papua New Guinea's Manam Island have prompted
authorities to raise the alert level and appeal for food and funds for affected islanders.

Manam's main crater had thrown up a 10km-high ash cloud and ejected glowing lava,
scientists at the Rabaul Volcanological Observatory said today. A lava flow was also
reported to be heading for two villages on the island in Madang Province.

The latest increase in activity following the volcano's eruption on Oct. 24 prompted authorities
to raise the alert level to stage three, which allows voluntary evacuations from the island.
Villages and crops have been covered in ash and villagers have been warned to stay away
from the island's four main valleys and from downwind areas to avoid scoria and ash falls

. At 1850 hrs LT, the 23rd, a phase of strong Strombolian eruption began producing a
continuous thick ash column that rose about 10 km above the summit. The ash cloud emissions
were accompanied by projection of glowing lava fragments, loud roaring and rumbling noises,
and occasional loud and banging noises that produced shock waves. A continuous bright red
glow visible down the NE valley indicated emplacement of a lava flow. The lava flow was
reported heading towards Kolang and Bokure 1 villages.

Friday, November 12th, 2004
As of the 12th of November, the Global Volcanism Network (GVN) has reported that
Manam volcano has re-erupted in Papua New Guinea. Ash emissions reached 10.000 m
elevation 40 nautical miles W/NW of the volcano, and 7.000 m elevation 80 nautical miles
to SW, as of 0730 hr UTC on 11th November.

Monday, November 8th, 2004
The eruption that began at Manam on 24 October continued through at least 31 October.
According to RVO, during 27-28 October there were occasional emissions of ash-laden
brown clouds and projections of incandescent lava from Manam's Southern Crater.
Fine ash from the eruptions traveled NW, and was deposited between the villages of Jogari
and Baliau. Main Crater released occasional weak-to-moderate emissions of white vapour,
and sometimes brown ash. Weak, fluctuating incandescence was visible from the crater at

Observatory and summit of Manam volcano.
From James Mori's pages

During 28-29 October, at Southern Crater there were occasional emissions of moderate,
thick, dark ash-laden clouds that rose above normal atmospheric clouds. The ash clouds
drifted NW, depositing ash between the villages of Yassa and Baliau. The Alert Level at
Manam was at Stage 1. By 31 October, the eruption at Main Crater consisted of
Strombolian activity, with ash and scoria emissions. Scoria of ~1 cm diameter and ash was
deposited in Warisi village on the SE side of the island. Small pyroclastic flows were
generated and fresh lava flowed into the NE valley. The lava flow followed the Boakure side
of the valley, covering older flows from the 1992-1994 eruption. Beginning on the morning
of the 31st, the amount of continuous volcanic tremor increased to moderate-to-high levels,
so the Alert Level was increased to Stage 2. Villagers near the four main valleys near Manam
were advised to remain away from the volcano.

The Darwin VAAC reported that a SE-drifting plume from Manam was visible on satellite
imagery on 31 October during 0813-1449 at a height of ~13.7 km a.s.l. The Aviation Colour
Code was at Red, the highest level. According to a news report, about 4,000 villagers living
near the volcano were moved to safer areas. Reportedly, "about 1 ft [0.3 m] of ash with hot
pumice" landed on the roofs of houses, and ash drifted as far W as Wewak, ~100 km from
Manam Island. On 2 November around 2325 a possible eruption may have produced a
plume to a height of ~7.6 km a.s.l. that drifted SE.

As of 9:00 am LT this morning (Oct.24th) activity at Manam had declined. Seismicity reflects
this decline. There was still a constant fall of fine ash to the northwest around the Yasa and
Boda areas, from Boda to Baliau some heavier ashfall has occurred. Scouria has fallen
around Yassa-NW valley and Boda.
Yesterday's pyroclastic flow destroyed gardens and coconut trees at Warisi village.
The flow reached the sea and pumice rafts are present.

Four children from Dugulaba, (aged 1.5, 4, 6, 3) tried to canoe to Bogia to get away from the eruption.
They are missing; people on the ground are still looking. They have been missing since the eruption.
(See our report: The Manam People and the Eruption, red frame)

22.May 2002

Satellite picture showing column from Manam drifting westward.

The Post Couriner Online, Papua New Guinea, Newspaper


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