Ritter Volcano - John Seach


Ritter Island, Morobe Province,
Papua New Guinea

5.52 S, 148.121 E
summit elevation 140 m

Ritter Island is located in Dampier Strait 9.5 km NE of Umboi Island, and 21 km west of New Britain. Ritter is the remnant of a larger island which was destroyed by an eruption in 1888. In 1700 Dampier reported violent explosive eruptions. Ritter volcano activity includes Strombolian, Pelean, and submarine eruptions.

2007 Eruption and Tsunami
An eruption occurred at Ritter volcano in May 2007. Thousands of people on nearby Siassi Island (Umboi) evacuated to higher ground after a tsunami hit the island and destroyed houses in Kabi and Kampalap villages. The event on 19th May was not preceded by measured seismic activity. Three explosions were heard after 9pm by residents on nearby West New Britain. One report says part of Ritter Island was washed away.

1974 Small Eruption and Landslides
On 17th October there was a seismic crisis at Ritter Island accompanied by an eruption, small tsunami, and landslides.

1972 Submarine Eruptions
A submarine eruption occurred at Ritter Island on 8th October 1972. The eruption was witnessed by residents on Umboi and Sakar Islands. The eruption site was underwater off the west coast of the island. The eruptions were heard from a distance of 35 km. Explosive eruptions created ejection of black clouds at intervals of two minutes.

1888 Eruption and Tsunami
In March 1888 most of the island was destroyed by a catastrophic eruption. The eruption produced a 13m high tsunami which cause fatalities on Umboi, New Britain, and New Guinea. There was a lack of explosive activity accompanying the collapse of the volcano. This was the largest historical island volcano collapse in the world.

Ritter Volcano Eruptions

2007, 2002, 1974, 1972, 1888, 1887, 1793, 1770