Long Island

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  • Country
  • Volcanic Region
  • Primary Volcano Type
  • Last Known Eruption
  • 5.358°S
  • 147.12°E

  • 1280 m
    4198 ft

  • 251050
  • Latitude
  • Longitude

  • Summit
    Elevation

  • Volcano
    Number

The Global Volcanism Program has no activity reports for Long Island.

The Global Volcanism Program has no Weekly Reports available for Long Island.

Index of Monthly Reports

Reports are organized chronologically and indexed below by Month/Year (Publication Volume:Number), and include a one-line summary. Click on the index link or scroll down to read the reports.

05/1973 (CSLP 58-73) Small eruption within the crater lake on 18 April

01/1979 (SEAN 04:01) New fumarolic activity

02/1979 (SEAN 04:02) Fumarolic activity, but no eruption

09/1990 (BGVN 15:09) Low-level activity at thermal areas

11/1993 (BGVN 18:11) Eruption in early November, first since 1976

12/1993 (BGVN 18:12) Eruption ends; details of activity given


Contents of Monthly Reports

All information contained in these reports is preliminary and subject to change.

All times are local (= UTC + 10 hours)

05/1973 (CSLP 58-73) Small eruption within the crater lake on 18 April

Card 1626 (08 May 1973) Small eruption within the crater lake on 18 April

The Central Volcanological Observatory reported the following . . . by cable. "A small eruption has occurred on Long Island. The first reports received on 1 May indicate that the eruption started on 18 April. An aerial inspection was made on 2 May and there appears to be no immediate danger to the 700 inhabitants. The eruption center is a small island in the caldera lake ejecting steam and ash at 5-50 second intervals 100-150 m high. Investigations are continuing."

Information Contact: R.A. Davies, Central Volcanological Observatory, Rabaul, Papua New Guinea.

01/1979 (SEAN 04:01) New fumarolic activity

"A report was received on 26 January of a supposed eruption of Motmot cone about mid-January. A flypast by a volcanologist on 15 January had revealed nothing unusual. However, aerial inspections on 29 January indicated considerable new vapour emission, including one powerful fumarole that was jetting white vapour and possibly water at the W shoreline of Motmot Island (350 m in diameter). Vapour from this jet obscured details nearby, but no clear evidence of recent eruptive activity was noted. No new craters or cones were present, and no new ejecta could be recognised on the island. Pending further information, it is assumed that only vapour activity has occurred so far."

Information Contact: R. Cooke, RVO.

02/1979 (SEAN 04:02) Fumarolic activity, but no eruption

"An aerial inspection of Long Island on 23 February confirmed that no eruption had taken place in January. Only small volumes of vapour were seen emanating from the summit craters and from a fumarole at the W shoreline. This fumarole is in a different position from the powerful one seen on 29 January."

Information Contact: C. McKee, RVO.

09/1990 (BGVN 15:09) Low-level activity at thermal areas

"An aerial inspection on 3 September indicated that thermal areas on Motmot . . . remained at a low level of activity. Vegetation was spreading in some areas, notably in the crater of the 1974 cone, and no fresh sulphur deposits were seen.

Information Contacts: I. Itikarai and C. McKee, RVO.

11/1993 (BGVN 18:11) Eruption in early November, first since 1976

"A new eruption began . . . in early November. The first report was received on 8 November but contained few details of activity. A team from RVO overflew Long Island on 9 November and found that almost the entire body of water in the caldera lake (Lake Wisdom) had changed colour, from blue-green to orange-brown, but there was no visible eruptive activity. The source of the discoloured water could not be discerned, although it appeared to be remote from the Motmot cone in the S part of the caldera, the site of the most recent eruptions (mid-1970's). There was no sign of a recent eruption at Motmot itself.

"Volcanologists returned . . . on 11 November to carry out ground-based investigations at Motmot. While setting up a seismograph, frequent earthquakes were felt, and muffled thudding noises were heard. The noises were more noticeable on the N to NE side of Motmot, suggesting that the source of the activity might be offshore in that direction. The seismogram consisted of continuous harmonic and irregular tremor with variable amplitude corresponding with the sound effects."

Information Contacts: I. Itikarai, and C. McKee, RVO.

12/1993 (BGVN 18:12) Eruption ends; details of activity given

"The eruption that began under the caldera lake (figure 1) in early November was effectively over by early December. By late November there was no longer any seismic evidence of eruptive activity. However, mild hydrothermal activity was continuing as indicated by the occasional appearance of patches of discoloured water at the lake surface. The temporary observation post on the NE rim of the caldera was closed on 3 December. There have been no more reports from Long Island, so it is presumed that the eruption is over."

Figure 1. Map of Long Island showing the caldera lake (Lake Wisdom), Motmot Island, and the November 1993 eruption site. Courtesy of RVO.

The following report from RVO provides additional details of the visit . . . on 11 November (BGVN 18:11).

"A temperature survey around Motmot (a cone in the S part of the caldera) revealed that temperatures were much lower than normal; the highest reading was ~45°C. Previously, temperatures at springs and in the beach sand around Motmot were up to ~90°C. It was not possible to carry out a complete temperature survey because of erosion and landslides on the flanks of Motmot and a rise in lake surface level. A GPS survey was also conducted on Motmot, with the survey marks used as photogrammetric targets for the purpose of producing a map of Motmot.

"During an aerial inspection of the caldera lake the source of the eruption was identified. Near the centre of the lake was a fresh sub-circular patch of grey-brown water. The central part of the patch of discoloured water was being frequently disturbed by underwater explosions, and there were several sites of non-explosive upwelling fluids and fine solid particles. The frequent underwater explosions were producing visible shock waves, seen as flashes of white light. The larger explosions broke the lake surface and ejected sprays of water and ash a few tens of metres above the lake surface. The active vents, oriented along an E-W linear vent system that may have been ~500 m long, were located at water depths of 300-350 m.

"A temporary observation post equipped with a portable seismograph was established at the NE rim of the caldera, about 200 m above the lake level, on 13 November. Activity similar to that observed and recorded on 11 November continued until the 16th and then began to decline. After 17 November the explosions were not strong enough to break the surface of the lake, and generated only upwelling cells of fluids and fine solid particles. Audible explosive activity was not detected after 21 November. At the end of November the seismicity was so weak that it could not confidently be distinguished from normal background microseismicity. However, mild underwater activity was continuing as plumes of discoloured water continued to be formed spasmodically. Sometimes the lake had a uniform (normal) blue-green colour.

"The time of commencement of the eruption is not precisely known. However, direct visual observations of water and ash ejections above the lake surface, from a new site remote from Motmot, were made by a local government official on 5 November. These details did not reach the Rabaul Volcano Observatory until 24 November. Another indication of the time of onset of the eruption comes from the seismic records generated at the permanent seismic station at Karkar Island, ~160 km NW of Long Island. Unusual strong, continuous, harmonic tremor, attributed to the eruption at Long Island, began to be recorded at about 1100 on 3 November. It is likely that the sound effects of the underwater explosions alerted the local government official at Long Island to hike in from the coast to the caldera rim to investigate on 5 November.

"The previous eruptive activity at Long Island in the period 1973-75 was centered at Motmot. Short bursts of Strombolian activity erected a number of small spatter and cinder cones, and produced a small lava flow. Temperature surveys indicated minor changes in the plumbing system of springs around Motmot until the mid-1980's. A progressive weakening of thermal activity around Motmot was recorded from late 1985."

Information Contacts: C. McKee and R. Stewart, RVO.

The broad profile of hexagonal-shaped Long Island is dominated by two steep-sided stratovolcanoes, Mount Reaumur in the north and Cerisy Peak in the south. Collapse of the basaltic-andesitic volcanic complex produced a large 10 x 12.5 km caldera, now filled by Lake Wisdom. Caldera formation occurred during at least three major explosive eruptions, about 16,000, 4000, and 300 years ago. The latter was one of the largest historical eruptions in Papua New Guinea and deposited andesitic tephra across the New Guinea highlands, prompting legends of a "Time of Darkness." Post-caldera eruptions have constructed a small cone, Motmot Island, in the south-central part of Lake Wisdom. Moderate explosive eruptions have occurred during the 20th century from vents at and near Motmot Island.

Summary of Holocene eruption dates and Volcanic Explosivity Indices (VEI).

Start Date Stop Date Eruption Certainty VEI Evidence Activity Area or Unit
1993 Nov 3 (?) 1993 Nov 25 ± 5 days Confirmed 1 Historical Observations E-W fissure NNE of Motmot Island
1976 Jan 2 ± 120 days Unknown Confirmed 1 Historical Observations Motmot
1973 Apr 1974 Feb 28 Confirmed 2 Historical Observations Motmot
1968 Mar 16 1968 Jun 12 Confirmed 2 Historical Observations Motmot
[ 1961 ] [ Unknown ] Uncertain     Motmot
1955 Jun 5 1955 Jun 13 Confirmed 3 Historical Observations Motmot
1953 May 8 1954 Jan 7 Confirmed 3 Historical Observations Motmot
1943 Unknown Confirmed   Historical Observations Motmot
1938 Unknown Confirmed   Historical Observations Lake Wisdom
1933 Unknown Confirmed   Historical Observations Lake Wisdom
1660 ± 20 years Unknown Confirmed 6 Radiocarbon (uncorrected)
2040 BCE ± 100 years Unknown Confirmed 6 Radiocarbon (uncorrected)

This compilation of synonyms and subsidiary features may not be comprehensive. Features are organized into four major categories: Cones, Craters, Domes, and Thermal Features. Synonyms of features appear indented below the primary name. In some cases additional feature type, elevation, or location details are provided.



Synonyms
Arop | Ahrup


Cones
Feature Name Feature Type Elevation Latitude Longitude
Cerisy Peak
    Bunaga
Stratovolcano 1112 m 5° 25' 0" S 147° 7' 0" E
Motmot
    Nani
Cone 235 m 5° 21' 0" S 147° 7' 0" E
Reaumur, Mount
    Dowi
Stratovolcano 1280 m 5° 15' 0" S 147° 5' 0" E


Craters
Feature Name Feature Type Elevation Latitude Longitude
Wisdom, Lake Caldera
Phreatic explosions from Motmot Island in Lake Wisdom during a 1953-54 eruption produce a column of steam and ash above the lake. A base surge travels radially away from the vent across the surface of the caldera lake. The western wall of the massive 10 x 12.5 km Long Island caldera rises 200-300 m above Lake Wisdom in the distance. Twentieth-century eruptions at Long Island have originated from vents at or near Motmot Island.

Photo by John Best (courtesy of Wally Johnson, Australia Bureau of Mineral Resources).
An ash-laden eruptive column rises above Motmot Island in 1953. Explosions that ejected ash and lapilli from the island crater in Lake Wisdom caldera began on May 8. Intermittent explosive activity continued until January 7, 1954. This activity is typical of 20th-century eruptions from Motmot Island, which occupies a site in the south-central part of Lake Wisdom.

Photo by John Best, 1953 (courtesy of Wally Johnson, Australia Bureau of Mineral Resources).
The broad profile of hexagonal-shaped Long Island, seen here from the east, is dominated by two steep-sided stratovolcanoes, Mount Reaumur in the north (center) and Cerisy Peak in the south. The volcano was named in 1700 by explorer William Dampier, who described it as a "long island, with a high hill at each end." Collapse of the volcanic complex during at least three major explosive eruption about 16,000, 4000, and 300 years ago produced a large 10 x 12.5 km caldera, whose low rim appears at the right.

Photo by Russel Blong, 1976 (Macquarie University).
A seashore exposure on the west coast of Long Island reveals deposits from the last caldera-forming eruption. This catastrophic eruption, which deposited tephra across the New Guinea highlands and prompted legends of a "Time of Darkness," took place during the mid-17th century. This seacliff shows pyroclastic-surge and plinian-airfall deposits of the caldera-forming Matapun formation, which is exposed at the top of the section, beginning about 4 m above the geologists.

Photo by Russell Blong, 1975 (Macquarie University).

The following references have all been used during the compilation of data for this volcano, it is not a comprehensive bibliography. Discussion of another volcano or eruption (sometimes far from the one that is the subject of the manuscript) may produce a citation that is not at all apparent from the title.

Ball E E, Johnson R W, 1976. Volcanic history of Long Island, Papua New Guinea. In: Johnson R W (ed) {Volcanism in Australasia}, Amsterdam: Elsevier, p 133-148.

Blong R J, 1982. The Time of Darkness Local Legends and Volcanic Reality in Papua New Guinea. Canberra: Aust Natl Univ Press, 257 p.

Cooke R J S, Johnson R W, 1978. Volcanoes and volcanology in Papua New Guinea. Geol Surv Papua New Guinea Rpt, 78/2: 1-46.

Fisher N H, 1957. Melanesia. Catalog of Active Volcanoes of the World and Solfatara Fields, Rome: IAVCEI, 5: 1-105.

Johnson R W, Taylor G A M, Davies R A, 1972. Geology and petrology of Quaternary volcanic islands off the north coast of New Guinea. Aust Bur Min Resour Geol Geophys Rec, 1972/21: 1-127.

Lowenstein P L, 1982. Problems of volcanic hazards in Papua New Guinea. Geol Surv Papua New Guinea Rpt, 82/7: 1-62.

Pain C F, Blong R J, McKee C O, 1981. Pyroclastic deposits and eruptive sequences of Long Island. Part 1: Lithology, stratigraphy, and volcanology. Geol Surv Papua New Guinea Mem, 10: 101-107.

Volcano Types

Complex
Caldera
Pyroclastic cone(s)

Tectonic Setting

Subduction zone
Continental crust (> 25 km)

Rock Types

Major
Andesite / Basaltic Andesite
Basalt / Picro-Basalt

Population

Within 5 km
Within 10 km
Within 30 km
Within 100 km
172
2,023
4,017
78,803

Affiliated Databases

Large Eruptions of Long Island Information about large Quaternary eruptions (VEI >= 4) is cataloged in the Large Magnitude Explosive Volcanic Eruptions (LaMEVE) database of the Volcano Global Risk Identification and Analysis Project (VOGRIPA).
WOVOdat WOVOdat is a database of volcanic unrest; instrumentally and visually recorded changes in seismicity, ground deformation, gas emission, and other parameters from their normal baselines. It is sponsored by the World Organization of Volcano Observatories (WOVO) and presently hosted at the Earth Observatory of Singapore.
EarthChem EarthChem develops and maintains databases, software, and services that support the preservation, discovery, access and analysis of geochemical data, and facilitate their integration with the broad array of other available earth science parameters. EarthChem is operated by a joint team of disciplinary scientists, data scientists, data managers and information technology developers who are part of the NSF-funded data facility Integrated Earth Data Applications (IEDA). IEDA is a collaborative effort of EarthChem and the Marine Geoscience Data System (MGDS).
Smithsonian Collections Search the Smithsonian's NMNH Department of Mineral Sciences collections database. Go to the "Search Rocks and Ores" tab and use the Volcano Name drop-down to find samples.