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Report on Rabaul (Papua New Guinea) — November 1987

Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, vol. 12, no. 11 (November 1987)
Managing Editor: Lindsay McClelland.

Rabaul (Papua New Guinea) Slow subsidence continues; seismicity remains low

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1987. Report on Rabaul (Papua New Guinea). In: McClelland, L. (ed.), Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, 12:11. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.SEAN198711-252140.

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 very low level during November; only 34 events were recorded. The eight events large enough to be located occurred in the Greet Harbour, Vulcan-Matupit Island areas . . . . Tilt measurements indicated ongoing very slow subsidence in the Greet Harbour and Vulcan areas. Seismicity has remained somewhat elevated in 1987, although from August to October seismicity has been at its lowest levels since the 1983-85 crisis.

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: P. Lowenstein, RVO.