The January 21, 1951 eruption of Mount Lamington, Papua New Guinea, completely devastated an area of 230 km2 and killed 2500 people (Taylor 1958). There is an impression here of post-disaster, administration fatigue—a vacuum, perhaps created in part by the departure of Murray, but probably more so by the lack of resources needed to make significant, ongoing improvements in the still isolated and recovering district in the early 1950s. Victory is a 1,925-metre-high, somewhat asymmetric, volcanic cone (Figure 9.5). The eruption destroyed the northern half of the mountain and generated a massive pyroclastic surge, which killed more than 3500 people and destroyed dozens of villages. This version of plate boundary distribution in the Papua New Guinea region presented by Johnson and Molnar (1972) was the first of many to be published subsequently, not all of which, however, recognised the Owen Stanley Range as an active plate boundary. The western slopes of Mount Victory had been referred to by Captain Moresby in 1874 as ‘open grassy and wooded slopes, which have all the appearance of English parkland’ (Moresby 1876, 276). Isivita is not shown either, but a foot track runs from Kendata on the north-western flank of the mountain down to Sasembata Mission, and a road then runs through Sivepe to the main road at Waseta. This land system is described as a ‘complex’ consisting of 1) slopes made up of mudflow and pyroclastic flow deposits including those of the 1951 eruption, 2) a piedmont and flood plain and 3) a volcanic outwash plain. Signs from Sumbiripa reach the living regularly, because at all times the Mountain has rumbled and sent forth tremors and smoke. Its chief minister was Michael Somare, leader of the clearly nationalistic Pangu Pati. The diagram was provided courtesy of Mr John R. Horne. Mount Lamington is one of four large Quaternary stratovolcanoes on the north coast of southeastern New Guinea. Kururi’s name, then, can be added to the list of volcanoes in Papua known to have been historically active up to 1951—Victory, Goropu, Lamington and Kururi. In the late 1960s, its summit area was dominated by a small crater complex and three lava domes, together with some thermal activity. The joint team used a total of 42 recording stations in a broad belt across the entire Papuan Peninsula to determine the crustal structure beneath Mount Lamington (Finlayson et al. Science, in fact, underpinned a fourth explanation for the disaster, but one that was held by only a minority of Orokaiva. The active volcanoes of Mount Lamington and Mount Victory are here plotted relative to the south-western margin of the minor Solomon Sea plate where no plate subduction is taking place currently (Johnson and Molnar 1972, adapted from fig. Mount Lamington, therefore, was not conforming to the subduction zone model, meaning that generalisations about the behaviour of explosive volcanoes at subduction zones elsewhere could not necessarily be transferred to Lamington. Ruxton was aware of the limitations of his published conclusions. The anger had been caused by loud noises—by disrespectful acts, such as grenades being thrown near the crater during the war and, after the war, Orokaiva, and especially the Sangara people, hunting on the mountain with newly acquired guns, thereby depleting the ready availability of meat. It could also be said to have ‘geological content’, although the creation of crags, peaks and craters is not mentioned in versions of the legend told before 21 January 1951. Waiko 2003). The south-east-facing crater wall could be that of a debris-avalanche escarpment. The pyroclastic flows and subsequent eruptions of … This was not the first time that ANU RSPAS researchers had shown an interest in the Territory. Villagers in the sketch on the right by Louise Bass are dropping food into the hole for the trapped Sumbiripa. The ridges or interfluves between the valleys, however, are not necessarily safer places during larger eruptions where widespread hot ‘ash hurricane’ may blanket much larger areas, as on 21 January 1951. Resettlement of parts of the devastated area had started already. First was Sivepe on the western slopes of the mountain about 11 kilometres from the summit. Tragically, Taylor died on the island on 19 August, apparently from a heart attack after returning from a climb towards the summit crater (Fisher 1976). UPNG also fostered the intellectual development of post-Independence leaders. The volcano rises to 1680 m above the coastal plain north of … Many reports on the Orokaiva were published in the NGRU Bulletin series (e.g. The eruption of Mt Lamington on Sunday 21 January 1951 was the greatest natural disaster on Australian-administered territory of Papua New Guinea. New educational and political opportunities were being provided from this time onwards for Papua New Guineans at both institutions (Nelson 1972). Lead-Up to Independence. Davies and Smith 1971). This is an important point as there is meteorological evidence from Port Moresby that winds higher than about 5,000 metres above sea level blow east to west all year round in Papua (Figure 9.3). Tectonic microplates of the Melanesian region. Seismometer and radio link equipment on Lamington in 1972. Zwartko. The southern edge of the Lamington volcano is outside the southern limit of the Buna–Kokoda sheet area (see Ruxton et al. A lot had been achieved, but much remained to be done. In so doing, Schwimmer (1977, 319) concluded that the mission’s critics were ‘pursuing obscurantist and reprehensible power politics’. The whole Territory took a major step towards its new status of nation-state when, in 1972, a national coalition government was formed. Only the extreme southern tip of the Lamington cone itself is seen on this sheet area, but volcanic ashes from the volcano are found considerable distances south-east of the mountain. Their language is the one most commonly used by people of the Binandere language group and is spoken widely in the more densely populated parts of … This PDC completely devastated an area of 230 sq. The catastrophic explosion of Mount Lamington volcano, Papua New Guinea on January 21, 1951 produced a devastating pyroclastic density current (PDC) that knocked down dense tropical rainforest over an area of 230 km 2 and killed approximately 3000 people. These are particularly noticeable on the northern and north-eastern side of the mountain, including along the Ambogo River itself, almost reaching the coast. The character of the upper-ash layers corresponded to ‘a discontinuous pattern of eruptive activity … an alternation of series of closely spaced larger explosions and periods with much smaller explosions or quiescence’ (Ruxton 1966a, 63). We present results of a field reinvestigation of the 1951 PDC deposit combined with an analysis of the available photographs and … +61 2 6125 5111 Another Australian Government geoscience agency, the BMR, was also involved in systematic postwar mapping in eastern Papua. Downs 1980; Meek 1982; Nelson 1982; Denoon 2005). CSIRO on Mount Lamington. The ADS is operated by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory under NASA Cooperative The age of Mount Lamington as a whole is probably less than 110,000 years—most likely within the range of 80–100,000 years. The length of each sector is proportional to the time that winds blow in the plotted direction during this period. To what extent, however, had stories about the powerful eruption at Mount Victory in the late nineteenth century infiltrated the cultural mores of the mountain Orokaiva in relation to their own stories about Mount Lamington and its ‘roars’? Additional challenges facing the two initial land surveys immediately following the 1951 Lamington eruption included the extensive ash cover on much of the landscape as well as the social impact of so many deaths. His fieldwork was part of a larger, international, comparative study being run by his university on cultural change and stability in communities displaced by disasters of one kind or another. The instrumented, yet now-quiet Mount Lamington resides on the SE peninsula of the main island of Papua New Guinea. Several conclusions of volcanological and disaster management significance to the Lamington story can be highlighted from the final CSIRO report and maps for the Buna–Kokoda area. Taylor’s unexpected death in 1972 represented the end of a pioneering, postwar period for volcanologists working in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. Plant ecologist B.W. No unusual evidence was found, however, that Lamington was about to produce another eruption of the type seen on 21 January 1951. Three adventive features on the lower south-eastern flank of the volcano, however, are not part of this zone. The cycle is far too elaborate to be explained as a recent development. However, according to Schwimmer, white planters and public servants claimed that the mission had been promulgating the false wrath of God explanation, and that now the mission was promoting the ‘geophysical’ explanation simply to counter that earlier criticism from the planters and public servants. It also has numerous old lava flows that are more clearly recognisable on aerial photographs than at Lamington (Figure 9.5). Why did Mount Lamington grow in that particular place? The overall impression from the map is one of authorities and communities having learnt the lessons of the volcanic disaster of 1951. The survey methodology adopted by CSIRO was innovative. However, Christian Orokaiva interviewed by Schwimmer in 1966–67 were rejecting the wrath of God explanation as ‘resting on a misunderstanding of the nature of God’ (Schwimmer 1977, 317). Further, earthquakes may be felt, or heard, as roars in the vicinity of Mount Lamington that are of plate-tectonic rather than volcanic origin. Langmore 1993; Denoon 2005). The value of the map rests in providing a benchmark record of settlement and infrastructure in the Lamington area, defining the layout of the road and track system and so on as they were in 1974 at the end of Australian colonialism. There would be, nevertheless, a considerable amount of further interest paid to Lamington volcano over the next 20 years—up to the time of self-government for Papua and New Guinea in 1973—and, further, to 1975 when Papua New Guinea achieved independence from Australian rule. + 1 letter. Arrows show net plate motion relative to the Australian Plate. The road turns abruptly northwards, avoiding a river ‘double crossing’ at that point, and splitting into different parts near plantation blocks at Sangara, one road swinging southwards past the old, now disused, wartime airstrip that had operated during the disaster relief phase in 1951. Three days later there was a violent eruption when a large part of the northern side of the mountain was blown away and devastating pyroclastic flows (steam and smoke) poured from the gap for a considerable time afterwards. Ruxton (1966a) concluded, tentatively, that Lamington may not have had a significant explosive eruption for about a thousand years before the one in 1951. The BMR established a geophysical observatory in Port Moresby in 1957 as part of a broad network of earthquake and geomagnetic recording stations covering the Australian region (e.g. Other important developments in Port Moresby included the start, also in 1964, of an Administration College and, in 1965, the creation of the University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG) (Meek 1982). Regency Mines (LON:RGM) said its Mambare nickel joint venture with Direct Nickel Ltd (DNi) has today filed an exploration licence application (ELA) with the Mineral Resources Authority (MRA) of Papua New Guinea covering the Mount Lamington and Hydrographers Range volcanic areas. The summit lava dome in the avalanche amphitheatre of Mount Lamington is seen clearly in this photograph taken from the south in 1962 (Scofield 1962). This map is based almost entirely on the map published by I.E.M. Schwimmer 1969, 1977). The Buna–Kokoda study was the first of 15 land resource surveys conducted by CSIRO in the Territory up to 1973. Such a view is not all that dissimilar to Newton’s Third Law of Motion: that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Post-1951 versions of the Sumbiripa myth are captured in these two drawings. The Next 10 Days: Disaster Relief and Controversy, 7. Volcanoes that form above these down-going ‘subducting slabs’ typically produced magmas of andesitic composition, just like those of Lamington and Victory. Small pieces of these distinctively dark PUB rocks could be seen in the light-coloured deposits and lava dome rocks produced by the Lamington eruption of 1951 (e.g. Ruxton also recognised that he was studying ash sequences on only one side of the volcano, and that sequences elsewhere, deposited by different winds, might be quite different. 2019). Another important limitation in the early years was the unsuitability over large areas of existing aerial photographic and topographic map coverage. Mount Lamington was not known to be a volcano, and there were no traditional stories or legends about previous eruptions. Radford 2012; see also Figure 9.8). Both are high, asymmetric, volcanic cones that have breached ‘crater’ walls facing the sea, together with fans of volcanic debris deposited preferentially in the same direction. He had begun his service as the district commissioner in Popondetta in 1968 and had attended the opening of the Mount Lamington Memorial Cemetery in the town in 1952 (Marsh 2005–08). A notable difference however is that although some layering similar to the classic A, B, C stratigraphy is present in the proximal deposits of Lamington, the layers are not so clearly distinguished by grain size characteristics and lack the sharp contacts that are common in classic blast deposits. Further, staff of the Department of Agriculture, Stock and Fisheries were reported as having been withdrawn from the Northern District ‘once the need for producing food for relief measure had passed … Interest waned and was reported to be “completely dead” in 1953’ (Waddell and Krinks 1968, 16). Does installing volcano-monitoring equipment at Martyrs’ School help answer the question of how the volcano operates as an integrated geophysical system? Does all of this mean that the mountain Orokaiva had no pre-1951 knowledge of what ‘volcanic eruptions’ were in a general sense and, perhaps, no specific word for them or for ‘volcano’? Substantial attention was paid to the Orokaiva in the post-disaster Northern District where there was already a history of cooperative movements, cash cropping schemes and economic development that had been deeply influenced by World War II (WWII) and by the disastrous Lamington eruption. Crocombe 1964; Howlett 1965; Rimoldi 1966; New Guinea Research Bulletin 1966; Waddell and Krinks 1968; see also Newton 1985) as well as in university theses and published in peer-reviewed journals. The third village studied by Schwimmer was Hohorita, population 348, which was made up of survivors from the now decimated Sangara people. An advance team, led by Dr C.S. Deeper structures, such as any seismically inactive subducted slabs, could not be determined by the survey. First, a clear age differentiation is made on the main accompanying map (Figure 9.1) between the young Lamington volcano in the west and the larger, but older Hydrographers Range in the east, unlike in previously published, coloured, geological maps up to this time (Figures 2.3 and 3.5). Permanent instrumental monitoring of Lamington volcano was enhanced in June 1970 when a seismograph and telemetry station were installed on the north-western flank of the volcano about 2 kilometres from the summit dome, thus permitting seismic signals to be transmitted by radio to a recorder in Popondetta (Figure 9.10). These volcanic features appeared to have been built against a larger, parabolic, south-east facing crater wall. G.A.M. This involved abandoning the fine church they had built after the eruption at Irihambo and rebuilding another, less-impressive one at Hohorita (e.g. Mapping the location of earthquakes taking place in the Territory had not been easy because of a deficiency of seismographs in the wider region, but this changed in 1964 when the World-Wide Standardized Seismograph Network (WWSSN) was established by the US. Schwimmer (1969) said that this version was ‘the richest in mythological content’ (6). Figure 9.2. Attributing the volcanic disaster to generally articulated ‘geophysical’ causes is acceptable in a modern, secular-rationalist society, but were those causes well understood and, more particularly, to what extent are those causes understood even today? Reproduced with the permission of CSIRO Publishing. The base of the deposit is mixed with soil in proximal areas. Mount Lamington, Owen Stanley Range, New Guinea Ranges, Papua New Guinea Mountain weather forecast for 1680m. We present the results of a detailed reinvestigation of deposits of the famous 1951 eruption of Mount Lamington which was originally studied by T. Taylor (1958). Mount Lamington is an andesitic stratovolcano in the Oro Province of Papua New Guinea.… The drawing is reproduced here courtesy of the Johnston family, Melbourne. [1967] 2010, however, who map this southern area but at a larger scale). One of these was Mount Manna, a small volcano that Ruxton suspected had produced ashes that had slightly ‘contaminated’ the Lamington ash cover he had been studying. Self-Government Day was declared on 1 December 1973. Ophiolite-contaminated andesites, trachybasalts, and cognate inclusions of Mount Lamington, Papua New Guinea: anhydrite-amphibole-bearing lavas and the 1951 cumulodome. The ashes of Mount Lamington were just one of the subjects of volcanological interest to Bryan Ruxton during the mapping of the Safia–Pongani area. Your browser is not supported by ANU web styles. Note how many of these features are sited within a broad band running east-north-eastwards up the western flank of the volcano and encompassing the summit area, as shown by the two red dashed lines. Vegetation is now extensive on the outer flanks of the volcano, but less so on the lava dome and amphitheatre walls. Wilkinson 1996). 8404 VOLCANOLOGY / Volcanoclastic deposits; 8414 VOLCANOLOGY / Eruption mechanisms and flow emplacement. Nothing further was concluded on the subject of eruption periodicity, but the work demonstrated the potential for integrated field studies of Lamington ash deposits in other parts of the area around the volcano. The departed spirits of the Orokaiva have their home there, headed by the first man to have suffered death, Sumbiripa, to whom all the activity of the Mountain is ascribed. Further, the ashes were weathered and coloured by oxidation of iron oxides in different degrees, inhibiting recognition of the deposits of individual eruptions. 5. (Schwimmer 1969, 5). The mountain Orokaiva do not seem to have been predisposed to such an explanation, as it does not explain why thousands of them also had to perish in the eruption as collateral damage. They are small, geologically youthful extrusions of lava that have formed domes and coulées, together with a few small cones probably made up of ash and other types of pyroclastic material. The broad structure of the PUB as an area of crustal thickening was confirmed, but the thickness of the crust beneath Lamington was found to be only 8 kilometres. The forested peak of the volcano had not been recognised as such until its devastating eruption in 1951 that caused about 3,000 deaths. New geoscientific staff from Australia began work at the Rabaul Volcanological Observatory (RVO) during the early 1960s. What are the factors that control the frequency, size and timing of major eruptions? Other research personnel arrived in Port Moresby from Australia in the early 1960s. They may, however, represent minor eruptive activity that is younger than the latest major explosive eruption at Lamington before 1951. The conclusion needs to be qualified, however, because Ruxton did not address the possibility of younger ages for smaller eruptions whose deposits are more difficult to recognise, including those from the minor, well-formed, satellite volcanoes on the western side of the Lamington cone (Figure 9.2). The second of the 15 map sheets to be surveyed by a CSIRO land resources team was the ‘Wanigela–Cape Vogel’ area south-east of Mount Lamington (Haantjens et al. Fundamental questions of causation needed to be explained. Stratigraphic characteristics of the deposit demonstrate strong local fluctuations, but have clear trends with distance from the volcano. It lies roughly across that peninsula from the capital city of Port Moresby and 40 km inland from the Solomon Sea. The wide fan-shaped and crosshatched areas represent the expected dispersion of air-fall ash, as suggested by de Saint Ours (1988). Numerous artificial explosions were fired from ships at sea to the north-east (in the Solomon Sea) and south-west (in the Coral Sea), and the seismic signals were recorded at the land-based stations. Arek had died of cancer on 22 November 1973, just eight days earlier. This was potentially of more interest to volcanology in general, as it involved the dating of old areas of volcanic destruction where the precise age of the eruption may have been unknown (Taylor 1958). One patch is actually at the coast, near Buna. The Australian National University, Canberra 2). The geological history of the whole zone is unknown but these sites of satellite volcanic activity cannot yet be claimed to be major sites of explosive volcanism. Taylor was part of the CSIRO team and he reported on ‘succession’ vegetation on what he called the ‘blast areas’ of both volcanoes and of Mount Lamington (Taylor 1957, 1964). Lamington's summit contains ragged peaks and a … An oblique aerial colour photograph of the dome was taken in 1962 by a National Geographic magazine photographer (Scofield 1962). How were the remains identified? Inspections of the still-hot summit lava dome of Mount Lamington were undertaken by RVO volcanologists, and by others, in each of the years from 1970 to 1975 (McKee 1976). [1964b] 2010b). The aim was to explore potential areas of research that might be of interest to RSPAS. The short north-west pointing arrow to the east of Mount Victory refers to the same Solomon Sea plate boundary in the Woodlark Basin, which is where tectonic plates are moving apart from each other (see also, for example, Luyendyk, MacDonald and Bryan 1973). Arek won convincingly—and was re-elected in 1972. This was on the basis of only thin ash layers being preserved on nearby Trafalgar volcano (after Haantjens et al. Resettlement, Myths and Memorialisation, 10. Both of these statements were true as far as the people living on the northern ˛ank of Mount Lamington in 1951 were concerned. Items 62 View Catalogue The forested peak of the volcano had not been recognised as such until its devastating eruption in 1951 that … Agreement NNX16AC86A, Is ADS down? Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 18(1-4), 215-247. Ingleby (1966) provided a description of the Lamington area as it was in 1966. They were true, … The sketch of peaks used on the title pages of each of the four parts of this book is based on the drawing shown here. Both Sivepe and Inonda had been studied previously by land use researchers from the NGRU. Jim Sinclair, a kiap who would later become well known as an author and historian of Papua New Guinea, went to the Northern District at the end of 1952 just before Christmas:. How many of these new elite Orokaiva asked why the all-knowing and powerful Europeans had not interpreted correctly the geophysical early warning signs of the catastrophic eruption? Further, Ruxton did not recognise ashes from Victory in the ash-cover sequence he studied south-east of Mount Lamington, although identifying them would have been difficult. The future inaugural prime minister, Michael Somare, was a member of the ‘angry Thirteen’, and so too was Trobriand Islander Elliot Elijah, the MBE awardee who had been recognised for his services during the initial disaster relief phase at Mount Lamington in 1951. Lamington's summit contains ragged peaks and a … He was sympathetic with the nationalistic views of the Pangu Pati but became a member of Julius Chan’s People’s Progress Party. Several crags formed on the angry mountain and the couple became isolated on one of them, from which they leapt into a ‘crater’ formed between the crags. ([1964a] 2010a), showing them in different colours and shades (compare with Figure 9.1). The instrumented, yet now-quiet Mount Lamington resides on the SE peninsula of the main island of Papua New Guinea. These minor eruptions, speculatively, could have taken place within the last few centuries and, potentially, would be less vulnerable to cultural-memory loss. The road continues eastwards through Soroputa to a larger cluster of buildings at Agenahambo, which includes St Michaels Mission and Martyrs School, and then on to Koipa and Hohorita School near the western side of Ambogo River. One of the land systems, called Oivi (number 3 in the south-west corner), consists of ultramafic and mafic rock, which are illustrative of the close proximity of the volcano to the Papuan Ultramafic Belt and Owen Stanley Range. Volcanologist John Best continued running the volcanological observatory in Rabaul in Taylor’s absence, and was heavily involved with Taylor and new recruit Max A. 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