Eruption of Kadovar Is the First Surprise of 2018

By Erik Klemetti | January 6, 2018 4:00 pm
The smoldering crater at Kadovar in PNG, seen on January 6, 2018.

The smoldering crater at Kadovar in PNG, seen on January 6, 2018.

It only took 6 days into 2018 before the first “surprise” volcano to erupt. Kadovar in Papua New Guinea erupted today, producing a volcanic plume of ash and volcanic gases that reached a few thousand meters (to ~7,000 feet) according to the report from the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center. The activity has been enough for local authorities to evacuate the people from the small village on the small island located 25 kilometers off the northern shores of New Guinea. However, rescuers did not find anyone where they expected when they arrived. An photo of the volcano taken today shows grey ash coating the upper parts of the steep edifice and the crater steaming vigorously (see below).

UPDATE JANUARY 7, 2018: It appears that the 500-600 residents of the island have been evacuated, but details are sparse. Local reports suggest that half the island is covered in “lava”. I think this is actually a mistranslation or misunderstanding and that this really means covered in ash or volcanic debris. With the potential for pyroclastic flows hitting the sea around the island or even a landslide from the volcano failing, the Rabaul Volcano Observatory has warned that there is a potential for a tsunami to be generated if the eruption continues.

Aqua MODIS image taken January 7, 2018 showing the steam-and-ash plume from Kadovar along with the steam plume from Manam. The brown area is sediment from rivers flowing into the ocean. NASA.

Aqua MODIS image taken January 7, 2018 showing the steam-and-ash plume from Kadovar along with the steam plume from Manam. The brown area is sediment from rivers flowing into the ocean. NASA.

Today’s Aqua MODIS imagery (above) shows the plume from Kadovar stretching far to the northwest, along with a wispy steam plume from Manam, located to the southeast of Kadovar.

Video of the eruption taken from a small airplane shows the dark grey plume (along with a white steam plume) from the crater. Much of the island looks to be coated in grey ash in the video and trees on the side facing the airplane looked to be stripped of foliage as well. Some areas looked like they may have already seen some minor pyroclastic flow activity as well. Local reports also mention ash falling on the nearby islands as well.

Kadovar is an andesitic volcano, so the lavas erupted are relatively sticky, meaning we likely could expect dome growth followed by collapse generating pyroclastic flows from the volcano if the eruption continues. This would be similar to the nearby PNG volcano Manam and Karkar. There are no confirmed historic eruptions from Kadovar, so there was little in the way of monitoring for the volcano prior to these new ash emissions.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Rocky Planet, Science, Science Blogs
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  • http://www.mazepath.com/uncleal/qz4.htm Uncle Al

    We can always use a little more atmosphere versus solar stripping. Has anybody sampled the plume for primordial He-3? “Papua New Guinea to be Gateway for Neutrinoless Controlled Fusion Research” (with deuterium). At 100% efficiency, only six grams/hr would be a one GW power plant. 6.7 tonnes/year of helium-3 would power all American households. Immediately destroy all fossil fuel-fired generations and study He-3 fusion, the AlGore-ithm to save the world!

  • Maico400

    Good, my canned food is going to expire soon,

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Rocky Planet covers all the geologic events that made and will continue to shape our planet. From volcanoes to earthquakes to gold to oceans to other solar systems, I discuss what is intriguing and illuminating about the rocks beneath our feet and above our heads. Ever wonder what volcanoes are erupting? How tsunamis form and where? What rocks can tell us about ancient environments? How the Earth might change in the future? You'll find these answers and more on Rocky Planet.
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