Unusually strong eruption at Manam volcano sends an ash column 15 km (50,000 feet) above sea level and forces 2,000 people to flee in PNG


An island volcano on the north coast of Papua New Guinea erupted early on Saturday, forcing 2,000 villagers to flee from lava flows. The eruption began at 6 a.m. local time (2000 GMT Friday), sending an ash column 15 km (50,000 feet) above sea level. The ash falls were so heavy that trees broke under the weight. The RVO’s Steve Saunders said it was an unusually large eruption.

Manam volcanic eruption on August 25 2018 in Papua New Guinea. By Scott Waide / Twitter

Three villages were directly in the path of the lava flow and residents had to be evacuated to safer ground. Manam Island, just 10 km (6 miles) wide, is one of the Pacific nation’s most active volcanoes and is home to roughly 9,000 people.

manam eruption august 25 2018, manam eruption august 25 2018 video, manam eruption august 25 2018 picture
Manam volcanic eruption sent a plume of ash and gas 50,000 feet above sea level on August 25 2018 in Papua New Guinea. By Scott Waide / Twitter

The most affected areas are Baliau and Kuluguma and due to the very poor visibility caused by the ash fall, people are using torch light to move around. There are no casualties as far as we know but we are telling people to keep away from valleys for risk of mud flows … there’s a heavy thick blanket of ash on the flank and if there is heavy rainfall, we are making people aware of the threat” it said.

manam eruption august 25 2018, manam eruption august 25 2018 video, manam eruption august 25 2018 picture
Thermic anomaly photographed by Sentinel 2 in the crater of Manam volcano in PNG over the last 3 days. By ESA

The initial phase of the eruption was over but a new vent had opened, indicating more activity may be likely.

manam eruption august 25 2018, manam eruption august 25 2018 video, manam eruption august 25 2018 picture
Sentinel 2 picture on August 18, 2018. By ESA

The Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (DVAAC) issued a threat warning to aviation to reroute around the cloud, which was above the cruising level of commercial airlines. The cloud was expected to dissipate over the next 12 hours.

Previous eruptions on Manam have killed residents who breathed in the ash or were buried by landslides.

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Reuters – Papua New Guinea volcano erupts, forcing villagers to flee





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