Sydney (AFP) - One of Papua New Guinea's most active volcanoes has erupted, authorities said Tuesday, pummelling villages on a remote island with volcanic rock before subsiding.
Manam island is a volcanic cone that towers out of the sea north of the Papua New Guinea mainland and has a history of eruptions, with major activity in November 2004 forcing the evacuation of some 9,000 people.
The volcano has erupted a number of times since then and spewed lava and ash last month.
A series of tremors around Manam triggered a warning system on Monday and the volcano began erupting shortly after, the Rabaul Volcanological Observatory said.
The eruption continued into early Tuesday, Ima Itikarai of the observatory told AFP.
An observatory report said there were "small ongoing eruptions" from the main crater early Tuesday.
Lava was channelled into a nearby valley and "intermittent bursts" of volcanic rock falling on villages, adding to a heightened risk of mudflows, it added.
The level of sesmic activity declined later in the day after jumping early Tuesday, the agency said.
But it warned that Manam was "still dynamic and volatile and therefore the potential for further eruptive activity in the future is still high".
Papua New Guinea has many volcanoes, particularly on its offshore islands, as the country lies at the junction of two tectonic plates.
Some islanders who were evacuated from Manam 15 years ago and resettled elsewhere on Papua New Guinea recently complained they were still struggling with their new lives, The National newspaper reported.