In Papua New Guinea, today began an unexpected eruption of the volcano Kadovar, which erupts for the first time during the entire observation period.
Many volcanoes of Papua New Guinea are responsible for some of the largest eruptions on Earth during the last several millennia. Over the past 10,000 years, Dakatahua, Pago, Tawuy and Billy-Mitchell erupted with the VEI-5 or VEI-6 index on an 8-point explosive scale, and Rabaul, Ulavun, Lolobau, Lamington, Karkar, Manam and Long Island generated explosions with the index VEI-4.
Some of these volcanoes are impressive calderas, which once served as a source of mass eruptions. Rabaul and Tawuy are partially submerged calderas, and the Karkar caldera rises on top of a large cone, at an altitude of more than 5 km. The caldera of the Long Island volcano measures 10 by 12 km and is filled with a lake. Its formation occurred as a result of three large-scale explosions during the last 16,000 years.
Pago is part of the larger Vitori caldera, formed from a series of eruptions about 5,600 years ago. Even Billy-Mitchell, who has a small 2-kilometer caldera, distinguished himself by several explosive periods. Its activity occurred about 900 years ago and led to the ashes falling asleep half of the island of Bougainville. In short, if you are looking for a place on Earth where another large eruption with a high caldera is likely to occur, it is difficult to find a territory with a higher explosive potential than Papua New Guinea.
The culprits of the last disasters in the XX century were the volcanoes of Lamington and Rabaul. Lamington awakened in 1951 and spawned massive pyroclastic flows that destroyed the city of Higatharu and killed over 2,900 people. The ash columns reached a height of 12 km, the tremors from the explosions were felt in Port Moresby, 110 km from the volcano. Such a devastating eruption was caused only by a small collapse of the dome, which led to the formation of clastic avalanches and pyroclastic flows with a length of 15 km. In recent years, people are beginning to settle in the Lamington area, which causes some concern, because the volcano can wake up again.
Caldera Rabaul stretches on the island of Gazelle. Inside its rim is the city of the same name, which means that the locals live side by side with the formidable volcano, which in the last century has produced three explosions with the VEI-4 index. The activity of Rabaul is characterized by the simultaneous eruption of several cones, which greatly complicates the forecasts of volcanologists. Nevertheless, local authorities draw lessons from previous disasters. If in the 1930s more than 500 people died from the eruption, then in 1994 the city was evacuated in time.
Recently, Papua New Guinea has a relative peace. During November 2016, volcanic ash and gas emissions were noted on the volcanoes of Langila, Bagan and Ulavun, but they do not pose a threat to the population. Nevertheless, the activity of these peaks is a reminder that the volcanoes of Papua New Guinea are among the most dangerous in the world – both for people living nearby and for the whole of our planet, because their awakening can have global consequences for humanity.