Sunday, 7 January 2018

Eruption on Kadovar Island triggers evacuations.

About 500 people have been evacuated from the island of Kadovar, off the north coast of Papua New Guinea, following a volcanic eruption on Friday 5 January 2017. The volcanic island, one of the Schouten group, which is 2 km wide and rises 375m above the sea, produced an ash column over 2 km high that drifted to the northwest, the first time such an event has been recorded on Kadovar (there may have been an eruption in 1700, and there was some fumarole activity in the 1970s). The evacuations were carried out without any injuries.

Ash column emerging from Kadovar Island on 5 January 2017. Samaritan Aviation/Facebook.

Kadovar is located about 25 km to the north of the mouth of the Sepik River on Papua New Guinea. It is home to a single village, Geawai, which sits on the rim of its crater. The precise age of the island is unknown, but it lacks a fringing Coral reef, which implies that it is quite young in geological terms.

 The approximate location of Kadovar Island. Google Maps.

The Schouten Islands are located on the southern margin of the South Bismarck Plate, close to its boundary with the Australian Plate, which underlies the Papuan mainland. The Australian Plate is being subducted beneath the South Bismarck, and as it does so it is partially melted by the friction and some of the melted material then rises up through the overlying South Bismarck Plate as magma, fuelling the volcanoes of the north Papuan margin.

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