The road then runs past the Embi Lakes to the coast of Oro Bay. The January 21, 1951 Blast of Mount Lamington in Papua New Guinea: Sequence of Events and Characteristics of the Deposits - NASA/ADS We present the results of a detailed reinvestigation of deposits of the famous 1951 eruption of Mount Lamington which was originally studied by … The surge produced spectacular tree blow-down in the devastated area. The surface layers at the site were identified as weathered volcanic ash, four of which were the ash ‘depositional units’ that Ruxton had recognised and named previously on the Managalase Plateau south-east of Lamington (White, Crook and Ruxton 1970). Use, Smithsonian 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. [1964b] 2010b). The group had started out informally as the ‘Bully Beef Club’ but it led to the creation of the Pangu Pati (Nelson 1982). These removals of personal identity would lead to unpleasant disputes several decades later, and to disaffection among those European relatives of the deceased who wanted to visit grave sites in what had become an unkempt and deteriorating park (Marsh 2005–08; Speer 2005–14). The usual dense vegetation had been transformed into fields of burnt ash and destruction. ‘Thick fresh looking ash deposits’ were found in river valleys to the north-west and south-east, possibly corresponding to the ‘burning rivers’ noted by local people at the time of the late nineteenth-century explosive eruption (Smith 1969, 11). Figure 9.4. 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). The forested peak of the volcano had not been recognised as such until its devastating eruption in 1951 that caused about 3,000 deaths. The southern edge of the Lamington volcano is outside the southern limit of the Buna–Kokoda sheet area (see Ruxton et al. These rocks had been thrust up by powerful tectonic forces forming the so-called ‘Papuan Ultramafic Belt’ (PUB), which makes up the towering barrier of the Owen Stanley Range (Davies 1971). 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). 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. Part of the CSIRO land use map. CSIRO on Mount Lamington. The Yega explanation may have resided somewhere within a cargo cult that was prevalent in 1951. of Papua New Guinea, New Britain, and the Solomon Islands. Photograph supplied courtesy of Geoscience Australia (negative number GA/5957). Taylor gave particular attention to this aspect of the land use survey in 1953, visiting not only Lamington but also the previously devastated Papuan volcanoes of Mount Victory and Goropu volcano (Taylor 1957). For example, Wijo Plantation, which was within the limit of total devastation in 1951, is shown on the 1974 map as growing rubber and cocoa, and tracks run upslope from it to a few houses on a creek draining from the higher parts of the volcano. #1 Mount Lamington Mountain Elevation: 1680 m Updated: 2019-05-17 Mount Lamington is an andesitic stratovolcano in the Oro Province of Papua New Guinea. At distances from 3 to 12 km from the volcano the maximum deposit thickness decreases from 55 to 5 cm, and the average size of the 10 largest clasts decreases from 4.5 cm to 0.5 cm; Md diameter decreases from -1.5 to 4.5 phi; sorting improves from 3 to 0.7 phi. Notice, Smithsonian Terms of A request for CSIRO’s involvement in survey work for postwar development purposes in the Territory can be traced back to Administrator Colonel J.K. Murray in 1947, as can the decision to start with the Mount Lamington area—Murray prioritised Mount Lamington in May 1951, shortly before his removal as administrator (McAlpine 2017; Keig et al. The whole surface of the Earth is covered by tectonic ‘plates’—some large, others small—that move relative to one another along linear, earthquake-defined boundaries. 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). An eruption at Mount Lamington, 1951 (photo wikicommons) In late January 1951 local authorities in the northern district of Australian-administered Papua entered an alien landscape. 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). New educational and political opportunities were being provided from this time onwards for Papua New Guineans at both institutions (Nelson 1972). The university had been created as a postwar venture in 1946 and three professors in history, geography, economics and related subjects from RSPAS visited the Territory on a reconnaissance trip between 14 October and 10 November 1951 (Spate, Davidson and Firth 1952). Collection of photographs and colour slides from the 1951 eruption of Mt Lamington, Papua New Guinea. The instrumented, yet now-quiet Mount Lamington resides on the SE peninsula of the main island of Papua New Guinea. 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. According to the brief news, locals from the community of Popendetta reported "smoke and ash emission on March 25". Mount Lamington: Des Martin On Sunday morning 21 January 1951, I was relaxing in the single men’s quarters Lae in what was then the Territory of Papua and New Guinea (TPNG). At present, there is no Benioff-Wadati subduction zone beneath the ophiolite sheet. Where is Mount Lamington? The Anglican mission itself put forward that scientific view after the 1951 eruption, which seems a rational and sensible step to take. 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. 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. They had built a recovery village at Irihambo, but were ordered to leave it some years later because it was found to be situated on Crown land intended for the settlement of Australian ex-servicemen. G.A.M. km; L=8.5 km; H/L=0.14). UPNG also fostered the intellectual development of post-Independence leaders. Further, earthquakes may be felt, or heard, as roars in the vicinity of Mount Lamington that are of plate-tectonic rather than volcanic origin. Two other minor volcanic centres on the plateau were together near Kururi, close to Afore, where a small pyroclastic cone and nearby explosion crater were reported by Ruxton as having been ‘active in village memory’ (Ruxton 1966b, 351; Figure 9.4). Improved earthquake mapping from numerous stations worldwide underpinned development of the revolutionary theory of plate tectonics that emerged in 1967–68 and whose impact became clearer during the early 1970s. Ruxton (1966a) collected about 300 ash samples for later laboratory study of grain size and mineral content, but even these did not help greatly in distinguishing marked differences between the different ashes in any one section or between sections. 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). + 1 letter. 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). This involved abandoning the fine church they had built after the eruption at Irihambo and rebuilding another, less-impressive one at Hohorita (e.g. Water vapour is seen rising from the summit of Mount Sumbiripa, previously known as Mount Lamington. The numbers given for each sector are the maximum wind velocities given in knots (about 2 kilometres per hour) and the average wind velocity is given inside brackets. In so doing, Schwimmer (1977, 319) concluded that the mission’s critics were ‘pursuing obscurantist and reprehensible power politics’. Many pits and auger holes had to be dug and sections along footpaths scraped away to reveal the ash layers, and only the upper sixth of the ash mantle was studied in detail anyway. All four versions deal with Sumbiri and his wife Suja—these are Schwimmer’s spellings of the names—hunting on the mountain for several weeks. Tectonic microplates of the Melanesian region. in Mount Lamington and the mountain Orokaiva in some of the years following the independence of Papua New Guinea in 1975. Signs from Sumbiripa reach the living regularly, because at all times the Mountain has rumbled and sent forth tremors and smoke. John Waiko, for example, a Binandere man from Orokaiva country, was one of the first graduates from the university. These compilations were invaluable not only for the CSIRO land surveys themselves but also for later volcanological hazard assessments. Reproduced with the permission of CSIRO Publishing. #1 Mount Lamington Mountain Elevation: 1680 m Updated: 2019-05-17 Mount Lamington is an andesitic stratovolcano in the Oro Province of Papua New Guinea. It is the omphalos kosmou [centre of the cosmos] of Orokaiva myth: the origin of death, warfare, fire—and generally of all those cultural elements established by the transforming deities—are traced to the Mountain, while the division of the people into distinct language groups is likewise a primordial event that occurred on the Mountain. Many of these deposits occupy pre-existing valleys that are dangerous because of the propensity of rapidly descending mudflows and pyroclastic flows to follow them, as experienced during 1951. Other lava domes on Victory were found to the south-west and north-east of the summit on a line that extended towards Mount Trafalgar. The Wanigela–Cape Vogel area immediately south-east of Mount Lamington was the second area to be studied. The same local apprehension was also witnessed, for example, by the missionaries who climbed the mountain in the 1930s and heard ‘roars’ that, at the time, they could not explain. Compare this map with the digital elevation model image in Figure 10.1. The overall impression from the map is one of authorities and communities having learnt the lessons of the volcanic disaster of 1951. This information was contained in an undated, unpublished account written by Fred Kleckham probably shortly after the 1951 eruption. The dome not unexpectedly was cooling and changing slowly. ABN : 52 234 063 906. First, the ash cover was not well exposed because of the extensive tropical vegetation. The imminent and inevitable end of the longer era of Australian colonialism was also becoming more obvious to indigenous people throughout the Territory, as well as to the Australian Government and the United Nations (e.g. (Sinclair 1981, 100). 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. Mount Lamington was not known to be a volcano, and there were no traditional stories or legends about previous eruptions. 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. Before 1951, the latest major explosive eruption at Lamington may have been so long ago as to be ‘lost’ in cultural memory, but the same cannot be said necessarily about the smaller eruptions that are presumed to have created the geologically very youthful minor cones on the western flank of the mountain. We found that the climactic phase of the eruption was triggered by a relatively small gravitational collapse of the old intracrater lava dome (debris avalanche V=0.02-0.04 cub. Schwimmer selected three villages for his study. 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. Explosive activity may have changed during evolution of the volcano as the result of a decrease in the proportion of eruptions producing ash fall deposits, together with a complementary increase in those producing pyroclastic flows. Marsh had to manage the situation as diplomatically as he could, not only on behalf of the administration, but also of the Australian Government, which was largely in favour of the resolute trend towards self-government and independence, more so after Gough Whitlam, leader of the Australian Labor Party, became prime minister in 1972. The three academics did not visit the Northern District and the Lamington disaster received very little mention, although one of the authors briefly listed 11 research topics, the eleventh of which was entitled ‘Changes in the settlement pattern in the Mount Lamington area’ (Spate 1952, 12–13). Before it erupted in 1951, when Upoto was a boy, the people living on the mountain did not realize it was a volcano. However, the presence of buried soil layers, signifying breaks in eruptive activity, were helpful, as were four radiocarbon dates on charred wood fragments. The width of the outlined box from this map by Haantjens et al. Ruxton and K. Paijmans dug an auger hole on the summit of the volcanic cone but found only basaltic scoriae and no appreciable soil, consistent with the volcano’s youthfulness (Ruxton 2007). Notable later successes, however, were also achieved by climatologists, including those from The Australian National University (ANU), in their provision of meteorological data compilations for the Territory and region—for example, for rainfall and wind (Brookfield and Hart 1966; Fitzpatrick, Hart and Brookfield 1966; McAlpine, Keig and Short 1975). (Schwimmer 1976, 34). 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. Lead-Up to Independence. Those Orokaiva who accepted the geophysical view, rather than a magical/religious one, now could regard themselves as modern people, members of a new elite, holding enlightened opinions that were the same as those of the knowledgeable Europeans. Conversely, at least some Orokaiva have said that senior staff of both the administration at Higaturu and the local Anglican mission had recommended an evacuation (Didymus 1974; Cowley and Virtue 2015). This conclusion, however, presupposes that ash falls from the distal parts of early pyroclastic flows are not represented in the sections studied by Ruxton. Independence Day was celebrated on 16 September 1975. Marsh made two decisions: first, to have the individual white crosses removed from the park; second, for the accompanying identification plaques at each of the former burial sites to be shifted to the centre of the park near the generic memorial plaque. 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. ‘Kanekari’ in these stories now means the ‘separation’ of Sumbiripa rather than ‘shut in’ as in the version of the myth recorded by Amalya Cowley in January 1951. Mount Lamington is a 1,680 meter-high volcano in Papua New Guinea. 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). Extracting scientific interpretations from powerful and strongly told myths after disasters can be a fraught exercise, but one can conclude in the case of Mount Lamington that evidence of witnessed, undoubted, pre-1951 eruptive activity cannot be confidently obtained from the myths. 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. Lead-Up to Independence. Items 62 View Catalogue Lamington is a major andesite volcano which is located in an area without a Benioff-Wadati zone. Figure 9.1. Numbers have been added to this adapted figure for only three of the 11 units as follows: 1) a ‘recent tholoid’ shown in red and referring to a) the central lava dome created within the summit crater in 1951–52 and including talus on its north-eastern side (the stippled area represents cloud and vapour from the still-hot tholoid seen on aerial photographs) and b) a ‘recent tholoid’ in the bottom left-hand corner that must be presumed to be older than the central 1951 lava dome; 2) coulées or thick, bulbous lava flows; 3) old lava domes and satellite/adventive pyroclastic cones. Volcanic features appeared to have been inherently problematic ‘ units ’ in the 1960s! 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