Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union

Submarine volcanism and hydrothermal venting studied in Papua, New Guinea



From March 11 to April 5,1994, the German research vessel Sonne mapped the largely uncharted offshore areas of the Tabarto-Feni island chain in the New Ireland Basin of Papua, New Guinea. The Epithermal Deposits Southwestern Pacific Ocean (EDISON) cruise was organized as part of a multidisciplinary program to study the regional tectonic setting of the Tabar-to-Feni chain, to document recent submarine volcanism, and to investigate seafloor hydrothermal activity on the submerged flanks of the volcanos.

The New Ireland Basin occupies a forearcposition with respect to the formerly active Manus-Kilinailau arc-trench system and hosts a series of Pliocene to recent alkaline volcanos that are built on rifted Miocene sedimentary basement. Several of the volcanos have large, high-level porphyry stocks, and several have active geothermal systems, including gold-depositing hot springs and the giant Ladolam gold deposit on the island of Lihir.