Logo link to homepage

Report on Rabaul (Papua New Guinea) — September 1990

Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, vol. 15, no. 9 (September 1990)
Managing Editor: Lindsay McClelland.

Rabaul (Papua New Guinea) Seismicity remains at background

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1990. Report on Rabaul (Papua New Guinea). In: McClelland, L. (ed.), Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, 15:9. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.BGVN199009-252140.

Volcano Profile |  Complete Bulletin


Rabaul

Papua New Guinea

4.271°S, 152.203°E; summit elev. 688 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


"Seismicity remained at a low level in September. The total number of caldera earthquakes recorded was 101 (compared to 113 in August, 213 in July, and an average of 215/month since mid-1986). There was a tight clustering of events below the NE part of Greet Harbour, and a broadly scattered group between Vulcan and Matupit Island. All events were of small magnitude (ML <=1.5). No significant changes were observed in levelling, tide gauge, tilt, EDM, and gravity measurements."

Geologic Background. The low-lying Rabaul caldera on the tip of the Gazelle Peninsula at the NE end of New Britain forms a broad sheltered harbor utilized by what was the island's largest city prior to a major eruption in 1994. The outer flanks of the 688-m-high asymmetrical pyroclastic shield volcano are formed by thick pyroclastic-flow deposits. The 8 x 14 km caldera is widely breached on the east, where its floor is flooded by Blanche Bay and was formed about 1400 years ago. An earlier caldera-forming eruption about 7100 years ago is now considered to have originated from Tavui caldera, offshore to the north. Three small stratovolcanoes lie outside the northern and NE caldera rims. Post-caldera eruptions built basaltic-to-dacitic pyroclastic cones on the caldera floor near the NE and western caldera walls. Several of these, including Vulcan cone, which was formed during a large eruption in 1878, have produced major explosive activity during historical time. A powerful explosive eruption in 1994 occurred simultaneously from Vulcan and Tavurvur volcanoes and forced the temporary abandonment of Rabaul city.

Information Contacts: I. Itikarai and C. McKee, RVO.