Eruption of Manam Volcano, Papua New Guinea

The island of Manam sits in the Bismarck Sea across the Stephan Strait from the east coast of mainland Papua New Guinea. Only 10 kilometers wide, the island results from the activity of the Manam Volcano, one of the countrys most active. In this image from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer ( MODIS ) on NASAs Aqua satellite on October 24, 2004, a large ash plume has spread northwestward from an eruption of Manam, located at bottom right. The thermally active areas on the volcano have been detected by MODIS and are outlined in red. Interestingly, the winds higher up in the atmosphere appear to have been blowing in the opposite direction at the time this image was captured. Streamers of clouds stretch from the coast northeastward over the ash plume and farther out to sea. In the afternoon sunlight, the thicker clouds cast shadows down onto the ash plume. North of the cloud streamers, the tail of the ash plume is being rippled by the wind into rows of evenly spaced, nearly parallel waves. The Manam Volcano has an interesting structure. Its 1,870-meter summit is bare and carved by four large avalanche valleys that radiate from the summit down the flanks. These valleys are spaced roughly 90 degrees apart around the cone-shaped mountain, and lava and pyroclastic debris flows have funneled through these valleys and reached the coast in past eruptions. The volcano has two summit craters, and both are active. The island is inhabited, and emergency agencies urged residents to move to safer parts of the island; however, according to news reports on October 27, no casualties had yet been reported.
Source: Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC

Eruption of Manam Volcano, Papua New Guinea

The vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean floats over the Earths molten core on a section of the Earths crust called the Pacific Plate. Along its edges, the plate crashes against the plates holding the continents with often violent force. In most places, the cold Pacific plate is pulled under the continental plates, where it crumbles into hot magma, a process called subduction. Along the edges of the plates, the clashing and breaking crust generates powerful earthquakes, and the shallow molten rock fuels volcanoes. The result is the “Pacific Ring of Fire,” a circle of high volcanic and seismic activity along the rim of the Pacific Ocean. Papua New Guineas Manam Volcano sits in the southwest segment of the Pacific Ring of Fire where the Pacific Plate sinks beneath the Indo-Australian Plate. One of the regions most active volcanoes, Manam forms a tiny 10-kilometer wide island that rises from the Bismarck Sea 13 kilometers off the shore of Papua New Guinea. The volcano has erupted frequently since its first recorded eruption in 1616, and was erupting on November 15, 2004, when the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer ( MODIS ) flew overhead on NASAs Terra satellite. In this true-color image, dark ash rises from the volcano and is drifting southwest over Papua New Guinea. The current eruption began on October 24 with an explosive eruption that forced thousands of villagers on Manam Island out of their homes. According to news reports, the ongoing eruption has not caused any injuries.
Source: Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC

Eruption of Mount Pago Volcano, Papua New Guinea

Mount Pago, located on the island of New Britain in the South Pacific, began in early August and continued through August 15, 2002, when this true-color scene was acquired by the Moderate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), aboard NASA’s Terra satellite. An ash plume is visible streaming northwards from the volcano, which is located near the center of the image in the red box. According to news articles, roughly 8,000 people have been evacuated from villages surrounding the volcano by August 9.
Source: Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC

New Guinea Sediment Plumes

This SeaWiFS scene shows sediment plumes from the Sepik and Ramu rivers of Papua New Guinea.
Source: Provided by the SeaWiFS Project, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, and ORBIMAGE

Louisiade Archipelago, Papua New Guinea

Offthe southeast tip of Papua New Guinea lies a string of small volcanicislands and coral reefs collectively called the Louisiade Archipelago. This true-color MODIS image from September 11, 2002, is centered on theisland chain, with Papua New Guinea at the left edge. Moving westward fromeastern end of the chain are the islands of Rossel and Tagula. (MisimaIsland, which harbors the largest village in the region, is obscured by apatch of clouds northeast of image center.) To the north of the chain liesthe Solomon Sea, and to the south is the Coral Sea. Most of theundisturbed land is covered by tropical rainforest, and despite theirsmall size, the islands harbor a number of plant and animal species foundnowhere else.
Source: Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Rapid Response Team,NASA/GSFC

Fires on New Guinea

Numerous fires were burning on the southern portion of the island of Papua New Guinea on October 31, 2002. This image was captured by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on the Aqua satellite.
Source: Image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC