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Report on Rabaul (Papua New Guinea) — March 1990

Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, vol. 15, no. 3 (March 1990)
Managing Editor: Lindsay McClelland.

Rabaul (Papua New Guinea) Seismicity remains relatively low; minor deflation

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, 15:3. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.BGVN199003-252140.

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Rabaul

Papua New Guinea

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


"Activity remained at a low level in March. A total of 265 caldera earthquakes was recorded. Daily earthquake totals ranged from 0 to 24, with the highest daily total recorded in a small Greet Harbour swarm on 18 March that included two felt events (ML 2.8 and 2.6). During the month, seismicity was broadly distributed within the caldera seismic zone. Levelling measurements on 26 March indicated deflation of 2 mm at the S tip of Matupit Island since previous measurements on 20 February."

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, P. de Saint-Ours, and C. McKee, RVO.