Report on Rabaul (Papua New Guinea) — December 1992
Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, vol. 17, no. 12 (December 1992)
Managing Editor: Lindsay McClelland.
Rabaul (Papua New Guinea) Increased seismicity
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 1992. Report on Rabaul (Papua New Guinea) (McClelland, L., ed.). Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, 17:12. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.BGVN199212-252140
Papua New Guinea
4.271°S, 152.203°E; summit elev. 688 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
"Seismic activity . . . showed an increase in December, when 1,090 caldera earthquakes were recorded . . . . This is the highest monthly total since August 1988, although it is only one earthquake more than . . . in July 1992. The December earthquakes occurred mainly in four swarms: on 1, 11, 14, and 17 December. The last of these was the largest, containing 226 events, some of which were felt in the Rabaul area with intensity III-IV. The 36 earthquakes located in December were distributed mainly around the northern end of the caldera seismic zone."
Geological Summary. 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: H. Patia and B. Talai, RVO.