EGU General Assembly 2020
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Multi-sensor satellite imagery analysis of the growth and collapse of a littoral lava dome during the 2018/19 eruption of Kadovar Volcano, Papua New Guinea

Simon Plank1, Thomas Walter2, Sandro Martinis1, and Simone Cesca2
Simon Plank et al.
  • 1German Aerospace Center (DLR), German Remote Sensing Data Center, Wessling, Germany (
  • 2GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Potsdam, Germany

Growing volcanic islands and lava domes become structurally unstable, associated with sectoral collapses, explosive volcanism and related hazards. We present the rare case of a growing and collapsing lava dome at Kadovar Volcano. This small inhabited volcanic island is part of the Schouten Islands, at the western end of the Bismarck Volcanic Arc, north of Papua New Guinea. The first confirmed historical eruption at Kadovar began on 5 January 2018 and was monitored by synthetic aperture radar (SAR), thermal and optical satellite sensors. Our analysis of the different remote sensing data shows that Kadovar began a new episode of volcanic activity at the central crater and then also at the eastern coast of the island, where we monitored the birth of a new emerging lava dome. We analyse changes occurring on the island and the littoral lava dome and identify that after dome growth (with an area of ~2,000 m² area week), parts of the island and about 80% of the littoral lava dome collapsed eastwardly into the ocean on 9 February 2018. This collapse caused small tsunami waves that hit the neighbouring islands. The littoral lava dome then re-grew at a slower rate (of ~285 m² per week) and reached a final area of ~40,000 m² by 2 May 2018, which corresponds to an estimated subaerial volume of the lava dome of ~400,000 m³. This study provides details on the rapid growth and collapse of a peripheral lava dome and a destabilization episode in an island and dome sector. The importance of remote sensing data for the monitoring and investigation of remote volcanic islands is demonstrated.

How to cite: Plank, S., Walter, T., Martinis, S., and Cesca, S.: Multi-sensor satellite imagery analysis of the growth and collapse of a littoral lava dome during the 2018/19 eruption of Kadovar Volcano, Papua New Guinea, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-1423,, 2019

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Presentation version 2 – uploaded on 05 May 2020
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  • CC1: Comment on EGU2020-1423, Francois Schindele, 05 May 2020

    The results of your study are very impressive and give an excellent review of the possibilities of remote sensing and various satellites data in monitoring erupting volcanoes. Complementary to your data, and looking at the capabilities of building a comprehensive monitoring system of such erupting volcano, did local GNSS data and local and regional seismic stations record the collapse of the volcano on February 9th. The question is : was the collapse a unique event or various slides or phases ? This information is crucial for the modeling and impact of the tsunami waves.

    • AC1: Reply to CC1, Simon Plank, 05 May 2020

      Thanks for your comment! The problem with this remote volcano is that there was no seismic or GNSS network installed on the island or in its neighborhood. The closest seismic station MANU is located 350 km from Kadovar. Due to the long distance of the seismic stations to Kadovar and because of other seismic events (earthquakes), it was not possible to detect clear seismic evidence following the dome collapse on February 9, 2018.

      • CC2: Reply to AC1, Francois Schindele, 05 May 2020

        Thank you for your response, so the monitoring of this volcano and small seismicity in that region is still a concern . As presented during the CTBTO session, (D2407 EGU2020-6415) Hiroyuki Matsumoto et al. started to study the signals recorded by a remote hydroacoustic station HA11 that records the T-phase. The authors identified some  signals, maybe a synthesis of the observations could bring a tentative of response.  

Presentation version 1 – uploaded on 28 Apr 2020 , no comments