Significant sulfur dioxide, ashfall over entire Kadovar island, P.N.G.

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The entire island of Kadovar is receiving big amounts of ash and there is now a significant sulfur dioxide gas observed in and around the island, authorities said. The gas has contaminated the western part of the nearby island of Ruprup where Kadovar residents temporarily took shelter. In addition, Ruprup’s hot springs are continually heating up.

The Rabaul Volcano Observatory, authority for this volcano, is conducting visual observations and confirming that the whole island is receiving significant ashfall.

“The fracture running down the summit dome to the coast has apparently widened, with vigorous steam occurring from it,” the Observatory said, as reported by Post Courier.

Earlier this week, RVO said it believes the eruption could become explosive, posing a risk of landslides and tsunamis.

Landslides, and consequently tsunamis, are possible due to the steepness of the Kadovar Island, RVO said, adding that the risk is high for those on the island while residents on the mainland face a small risk of tsunamis.

The people of Kadovar who have been evacuated to nearby Ruprup island will be relocated to the mainland, the Governor of East Sepik Province Allan Bird said Thursday, January 11.

“I told the villagers that we have to relocate them to the safety of the mainland as soon as possible because we cannot predict what the volcano will do, this is the safest option. The Provincial Government has already secured land along the Turubu coast for this purpose,” Bird said.

Ruprup is also a volcanic island, with hot springs that continue to heat up, Bird addedd.

Kadovar volcano erupting on January 8, 2018. Credit: NASA/NOAA Suomi NPP/VIIRS

Geological summary

The 2-km-wide (1.2 miles) island of Kadovar is the emergent summit of a Bismarck Sea stratovolcano of Holocene age. Kadovar is part of the Schouten Islands, and lies off the coast of New Guinea, about 25 km (15 miles) N of the mouth of the Sepik River.

The village of Gewai is perched on the crater rim. A 365-m-high (1 200 feet) lava dome forming the high point of the andesitic volcano fills an arcuate landslide scarp that is open to the south, and submarine debris-avalanche deposits occur in that direction.

Thick lava flows with columnar jointing forms low cliffs along the coast. The youthful island lacks fringing or offshore reefs. No certain historical eruptions are known; the latest activity was a period of heightened thermal phenomena in 1976. (GVP)

Featured image: Kadovar volcano erupting on January 8, 2018. Credit: Brandon Buser

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