Pago

Photo of this volcano
Google Earth icon
Google Earth Placemark
  • Country
  • Subregion Name
  • Primary Volcano Type
  • Last Known Eruption
  • 5.58°S
  • 150.52°E

  • 742 m
    2434 ft

  • 252080
  • Latitude
  • Longitude

  • Summit
    Elevation

  • Volcano
    Number

4 July-10 July 2012

Based on analyses of satellite imagery, the Darwin VAAC reported that on 11 July an ash plume from Pago rose to an altitude of 4.3 km (14,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted over 275 km SW.

Source: Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC)



 Available Weekly Reports


2012: May | July
2007: August
2005: August
2004: April
2003: March | May | August
2002: July | August | September | October | November | December


4 July-10 July 2012

Based on analyses of satellite imagery, the Darwin VAAC reported that on 11 July an ash plume from Pago rose to an altitude of 4.3 km (14,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted over 275 km SW.

Source: Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC)


2 May-8 May 2012

Based on analyses of satellite imagery, the Darwin VAAC reported that ash-and-steam plumes from Pago rose to an altitude of 13.7 km (45,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted 75 km NE on 3 May.

Source: Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC)


29 August-4 September 2007

Based on a report from Kimbe Vulcanological Observatory (KVO), RVO reported that people from villages near Pago heard a single booming noise and saw an increase in white vapor emission on 27 August. Seismicity increased during 27-28 August. The second crater of the upper vents ejected lava fragments on 28 August. White vapor emitted from the same crater was seen during an inspection of the area on 29 August.

Source: Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO)


17 August-23 August 2005

Pago was quiet during 15-21 August, with only steam emissions occurring from the upper vents of the fissure system. Seismicity was at low levels.

Source: Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO) via the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center


7 April-13 April 2004

During 15 March to 1 April, volcanic and seismic activity at Pago remained at low levels. All vents gently released small volumes of "thin white vapor." On some days, small amounts of "blue vapor" were emitted from the lower vents. A dull glow was observed at the volcano on 17 March.

Source: Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO)


13 August-19 August 2003

During 25 June to 14 August, volcanic and seismic activity remained at low levels at Pago. Small amounts of "fume" were released from the lower vents, with only trace amounts of SO2emissions in early August. A local tectonic earthquake on 9 August led to an increase in energy release and number of earthquakes recorded at one seismic station.

Source: Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO)


28 May-3 June 2003

An aerial inspection of Pago's summit area on 22 May revealed that lava effusion from the northwestern-most vent had ceased following the last aerial inspection in February 2003. Also, there were no indications of fresh lava near the vents. This observation was confirmed by the lack of further movement of the northerly and southerly lobes of lava. Furthermore, there was no change in the height of the lava body against the caldera wall. Scientists also saw that a new fumarole area had formed between Mt. Pago and the Pyramid to the east. Significant inflation had been measured since December 2002, but it may be related to roadwork in the area causing benchmarks to move.

Source: Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO)


5 March-11 March 2003

An aerial inspection of Pago's Witori caldera on 28 February revealed that lava continued to flow from the northwestern-most vent as it had in January. Lateral flow of the N lava lobe had slowed since it was last observed, but there was thickening of the lava deposit along the entire body of the flow. The S lava lobe progressed farther S, but at a very slow rate. All lava was contained inside the floor of Witori caldera. Scientists found that vegetation had died on the S side of the volcano due to volcanic gases blowing to the S, rather than from increased volcanic heat. Vapor continued to be emitted from all vents along the fissure system, and in smaller amounts from the main summit crater. Seismicity continued at low levels, with a decline in the number of earthquakes during the previous 2 weeks. Seismic and GPS data from the remote field site were no longer available as of 27 February due to the theft of four solar panels.

Source: Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO) via the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center


31 December-6 January 2003

As of 2 January lava continued to flow from Pago's northwestern-most vent. In addition, variable amounts of white vapor were released from most vents along the fissure system. Weak incandescence was visible on the night of 28 December. Seismicity continued at low levels as it has since early October 2002 when the seismic network was installed. No significant ground deformation had been recorded in a month, in contrast to the period between the start of the eruption (early August) and early November when complex and significant movement was recorded.

Source: Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO) via the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center


4 December-10 December 2002

An aerial inspection of Pago on 10 December confirmed that lava continued to slowly flow from the volcano. The lava flow remained confined by the walls of Witori caldera. Variable amounts of steam was emitted from vents. Blue vapor, which was inferred to be juvenile volcanic gas, was emitted from the northwestern-most vent. Seismicity continued to be at background levels, and consisted of small volcano-tectonic earthquakes.

Source: Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO) via the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center


27 November-3 December 2002

RVO reported that Pago continued to erupt through 2 December. Slow lava effusion from the northwestern-most vent continued, with the lava flow still contained within the Witori Caldera floor. Variable amounts of white vapor continued to be released from the vents. The northwestern-most vent released bluish vapor, indicating and/or confirming continuing lava effusion. Seismicity, consisting of small volcanotectonic earthquakes, remained at normal background levels. RVO stated that results from data analysis did not indicate a major increase in eruptive activity.

Source: Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO) via the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center


13 November-19 November 2002

Volcanic activity continued at Pago and residents in relatively low-risk areas near the volcano were told it was safe to return to their homes according to a news article. The eruption of Pago began in August, leading to the evacuation of 12,000-15,000 residents.

Source: Asia Pacific


30 October-5 November 2002

On 3 November at 0620 a pilot saw a low-level ash plume rise above Pago. A narrow plume was visible on satellite imagery.

Source: Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC)


9 October-15 October 2002

Volcanic activity continued at Pago during 9-15 October. According to a news article, scientists found that inflation continued at the volcano, with ~1 cm of uplift occurring in a month. By 10 October, approximately 15,000 residents near the volcano had been evacuated since volcanic activity commenced in August.

Sources: ABC News - Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Associated Press


25 September-1 October 2002

As of 30 September seismicity remained at low levels at Pago and lava continued to flow from the northeastern-most vent of the fissure system. A significant lava field had developed, with all lava flows contained within the caldera. Incandescence was visible at the lava-flow front.

Sources: The National, US Geological Survey


4 September-10 September 2002

According to a news article, an explosive event occurred at Pago during 7-8 September. The Darwin VAAC reported that on 7 September at 0656 a low-level (~1.5 km a.s.l.) ash-and-steam plume was visible on satellite imagery drifting NW.

Sources: Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), The National


28 August-3 September 2002

The Japanese Disaster Relief Team that visited Pago during 25 August to 3 September found that lava had erupted from four of the five craters NW of the Pago Central cone that are aligned NW-SE. The largest quantity of lava was emitted from the lowest cone; lava from the cone flowed NE and then was directed SE after reaching the crater wall. Two faults were visible; one was parallel to the crater line, and the other was perpendicular to it. No eruption column was observed, only blue-white fumarolic gas was emitted. The thickest ash deposits were 2 mm thick 3 km N of the craters, and less than 1 mm thick at Hoskins airport.

Source: Volcano Research Center-Earthquake Research Institute (University of Tokyo)


21 August-27 August 2002

On 21 August several news articles reported that surface deformation had been recorded at Pago by Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO) staff. They also reported that Ima Itikarai, an RVO seismologist, stated that "Lava is flowing from one of the small vents that was formed, but the lava is still contained within the corridor, so it's not a threat." The natural corridor is reportedly 30 m high. Due to the volcanism that has been occurring for three weeks, emergency officials discussed re-settling the 8,000 displaced residents near Pago.

Sources: Reuters, Associated Press, Australian Associated Press


14 August-20 August 2002

The Darwin VAAC reported that at Pago on 14 August around 1030 a very thin, low-level ash plume was visible on satellite imagery. The plume extended N to NNW and was probably below ~2.1 km a.s.l. On the 16th, intermittent eruptions with low ash content produced low-level plumes. The Rabaul Volcano Observatory reported that the low level of activity was expected to continue.

Source: Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC)


7 August-13 August 2002

The eruption at Pago that began the previous week continued through 13 August. According to news articles, 6,000-8,000 people had been evacuated from villages surrounding the volcano by 9 August. No injuries had been reported. The Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO) reported that the eruption was characterized by the ejection of light gray to some dark ash clouds. The clouds drifted primarily to the N and NW, after reaching heights of a few kilometers above the summit. Very little ash was deposited in areas surrounding the volcano. The thickest ashfall (3 mm) occurred at Rikau and Matmada, 6-8 km NNW of the volcano. There was not more than 1 mm of ash deposited at Hoskins airport. Aerial inspection of the summit area by RVO staff indicated that there were no lava flows descending the volcano's flanks, instead, lava extruded onto the surface formed cones above the active vents. The highest cone was about 60 m tall. Contrary to previous reports, there was no bulging on the N or NW sides of the volcano. During the week, seismicity was at low-to-moderate levels. The closure of the airport near the town of Kimbe, 30 miles N of Pago, disrupted island air traffic. On 13 August at 1030 a thin plume was visible on satellite imagery reaching a height of about 2.1 km and extending N to NW. The summit was covered by meteorological clouds, preventing visual observations. Only weak intermittent rumbling was heard. RVO advised that activity had settled into a steady pattern, although changes in the nature of the eruption could occur.

Sources: Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO), Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Reuters, Associated Press


31 July-6 August 2002

Qantas Airlines reported that a rapidly increasing ash cloud was visible at 9.1 km a.s.l. on 3 August at 1440. The summit was obscured by clouds, so ash was not identifiable from satellite imagery. On 5 August at 0705 Air Niugini reported another ash cloud that was 18 km wide at 1.2 km a.s.l. extending 37 km NW. According to press reports, this plume was from an eruption that began on 5 August around 0530. By 0600, residents in Hoskins and Kimbe towns realized there had been an eruption when they saw thick clouds of ash drifting W across Kimbe Bay. Another eruption occurred about midday, raining ash on Hoskins. An estimated 10,000 to 15,000 people in villages at the foot of the volcano and surrounding areas could be affected by ashfall. Earthquakes were felt before the eruption.

Air Niugini reported that on 6 August at 0630 a 1.8- to 2.4-km-thick gray ash plume extended 148 km WNW at 7.6 km a.s.l. The Rabaul Volcano Observatory noted that at 0830 the ash column had reached 10 km above the volcano. A low-level ash plume identified on GMS visible satellite imagery at 0932 extended 111 km WNW with a width of 18 km. By 1132 the ash plume was 37 km wide based on visible satellite imagery. The Rabaul Volcano Observatory reported that eruptions were continuing on 6 August at 1800 with the ash plume moving NNW to N.

Sources: Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Papua New Guinea Post-Courier Online


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

Start Date Stop Date Eruption Certainty VEI Evidence Activity Area or Unit
2012 May 4 2012 Jul 11 Confirmed 2 Historical Observations
2007 Aug 28 2007 Aug 28 Confirmed 1 Historical Observations
[ 2004 Feb 24 ] [ 2004 Feb 24 ] Uncertain 1  
2002 Aug 3 2003 Mar 26 ± 25 days Confirmed 3 Historical Observations Summit and NW flank
1933 Jul (?) 1933 Aug (?) Confirmed 2 Historical Observations
1920 ± 2 years Unknown Confirmed 0 Historical Observations
1911 1918 May (?) Confirmed 3 Historical Observations
[ 1900 (?) ] [ Unknown ] Discredited    
1800 (?) Unknown Confirmed 4 Tephrochronology Witori, W-H6 tephra
1730 ± 25 years Unknown Confirmed   Tephrochronology Witori, W-H5 tephra
1550 (?) Unknown Confirmed 4 Tephrochronology Witori, W-H4 tephra
1450 (?) Unknown Confirmed   Tephrochronology Witori, W-H3 tephra
1050 ± 100 years Unknown Confirmed   Tephrochronology Witori, H2 tephra
0950 (?) Unknown Confirmed   Tephrochronology Witori, H1 tephra
0710 ± 75 years Unknown Confirmed 6 Radiocarbon (uncorrected) Witori, W-G tephra
0690 ± 100 years Unknown Confirmed 5 Radiocarbon (corrected) Witori, WK-4 tephra
0310 ± 100 years Unknown Confirmed 5 Radiocarbon (corrected) Witori, WK-3 tephra
0640 BCE ± 300 years Unknown Confirmed   Radiocarbon (uncorrected) Witori
1370 BCE ± 100 years Unknown Confirmed 6 Radiocarbon (corrected) Witori, WK-2 tephra
4000 BCE ± 200 years Unknown Confirmed 6 Radiocarbon (corrected) Witori, WK-1 tephra
7510 BCE ± 150 years Unknown Confirmed   Radiocarbon (uncorrected) Witori

The following references are the sources used for data regarding this volcano. References are linked directly to our volcano data file. 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. Additional discussion of data sources can be found under Volcano Data Criteria.

Blake D H, Bleeker P, 1970. Volcanoes of the Cape Hoskins area, New Britain, Territory of Papua and New Guinea. Bull Volc, 34: 385-405.

Blake D H, McDougall I, 1973. Ages of the Cape Hoskins volcanoes, New Britain, Papua New Guinea. J Geol Soc Aust, 20: 199-204.

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, Blake D H, 1972. The Cape Hoskins area, southern Willaumez Peninsula, the Witu Islands, and associated volcanic centres, New Britain: volcanic geology and petrology. Aust Bur Min Resour Geol Geophys Rec, 1972/133: 1-102.

Machida H, Blong R J, Specht J, Moriwaki H, Torrence R, Hayakawa Y, Talai B, Lolok D, Pain C F, 1996. Holocene explosive eruptions of Witori and Dakatau caldera volcanoes in west New Britain, Papua New Guinea. Quat Internatl, 34-36: 65-78.

Neall V E, Wallace R C, Torrence R, 2008. The volcanic environment for 40,000 years of human occupation on the Willaumez Isthmus, West New Britain, Papua New Guinea. J Volc Geotherm Res, 176: 330-343.

Pago is a young post-caldera cone that was constructed within the 5.5 x 7.5 km Witori caldera. The Buru caldera cuts the SW flank of Witori volcano. The gently sloping outer flanks of Witori volcano consist primarily of dacitic pyroclastic-flow and airfall deposits produced during a series of five major explosive eruptions from about 5600 to 1200 years ago, many of which may have been assocciated with caldera formation. The post-caldera cone of Witori, Mount Pago, may have formed less than 350 years ago. Pago has grown to a height above that of the Witori caldera rim. A series of ten dacitic lava flows from Pago covers much of the caldera floor. The youngest of these was erupted during 2002-2003 from vents extending from the summit nearly to the NW caldera wall.