Saturday 12 May 2012

Eruption on Mount Pago.

Mount Pago is located on the Hoskins Peninsula, New Britain, between Stetin and Commodore Bays. It sits within the caldera of an older, but potentially still active, volcano, called Witori. Witori was active between 5600 and 1200 years ago, Pago probably started to grow within the Witori Caldera in the seventeenth century.

The location of Mount Pago. Jago & Boyd (2005).

In the first week of May 2012 the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center reported an ash cloud rising 13.7 km above Mount Pago, and drifting to the northeast. This is the first reported activity on Mount Pago since 2007, when the Kimbe Volcanological Observatory reported booming noises and lava fragments being ejected from the crater of Pago.

The last major eruption on Mount Pago was in 2002-3, when a series of lava flows displaced around 30 000 people from the surrounding area. Prior to this the volcano had been quiet for some decades, having last erupted in 1933 then before this in 1920 and 1911.

New Britain is located on the South Bismarck Plate, north of the Solomon Sea Plate, which is being subducted beneath it. As the Solomon Sea Plate passes under New Britain, it is melted by the friction and the heat of the Earth's interior. This produces liquid magma, which rises through the overlying South Bismark Plate, fueling the volcanoes of New Britain.

The sinking of the Solomon Sea Plate beneath New Britain. Oregon State University.

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