Lava build-up from Kadovar volcano emerges from sea

5:49 pm on 14 February 2018

A lava build-up has been observed emerging from the sea just off the Kadovar Island volcano in Papua New Guinea.

A view of Kadovar, from BlupBlup

A view of Kadovar, from BlupBlup Photo: Rabaul Volcanological Observatory

Lava has been gradually oozing from a breached vent on the small island which began erupting last month, prompting the evacuation of its over 600 residents.

According to the Rabaul Volcano Observatory, Kadovar's eruption continues at a low-level with mild steaming at the summit, and a gentle emission of unexplosive lava.

The Observatory's acting assistant director Steve Saunders said a dome of lava had formed and reached about 200 metres out to sea.

"It's not super hot. That would make it more fluid. It's actually quite viscous, thick stuff. So it's coming out as a large, blocky lava flow. So they can see it from fifteen kilometres away. It's a small, black steaming lump in the sea, and there's a gap between it and the island, so they estimate about fifty metres."

Mr Saunders said the eruption was pretty stable.

"And then there's just slow, gentle emission of a flat lava. I mean flat when it's got no gas in it. So it's not explosive or anything," he explained.

"But they (volcanoes) fluctuate. It can actually pick up or die down. That's the million dollar question. The island itself of Kadovar will be uninhabitable for a very long time. The population of six hundred... and it was already overpopulated. So the majority of the people won't be able to go back for a long time, no."

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