Report on Rabaul (Papua New Guinea) — May 2006
Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, vol. 31, no. 5 (May 2006)
Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman.
Rabaul (Papua New Guinea) Gas emissions and earthquakes during March-April 2006
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2006. Report on Rabaul (Papua New Guinea). In: Wunderman, R. (ed.), Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, 31:5. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.BGVN200605-252140.
Papua New Guinea
4.271°S, 152.203°E; summit elev. 688 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
Despite minor inflationary movements that began in mid-February 2006, Tavurvur remained relatively quiet from the end of March to mid-April 2006. Variable amounts of white vapor were released from the summit area and from an active fumarole on the upper W flank during this period. Vapor emissions became denser during and after rainfall. There were no noises heard or visible glow detected at night. Seismic activity remained at a low level. A high-frequency earthquake that originated NE of the caldera was recorded on 22 March. No other distinct high-frequency events were recorded, but 53 low-frequency earthquakes were recorded during 1-14 April.
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: Ima Itikarai and Herman Patia, Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO), P.O. Box 386, Rabaul, Papua New Guinea.