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Report on Rabaul (Papua New Guinea) — November 1988

Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, vol. 13, no. 11 (November 1988)
Managing Editor: Lindsay McClelland.

Rabaul (Papua New Guinea) Seismicity declines; slight inflation

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1988. Report on Rabaul (Papua New Guinea). In: McClelland, L. (ed.), Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, 13:11. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.SEAN198811-252140.

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)


"Seismic activity continued to decrease in November with a total of 301 earthquakes. The daily number of events averaged <20 with the highest number (54 events) recorded on the l4th. Four locatable events were detected: on the E side (1) and N of (2) Greet Harbour, and on the W side of Matupit Island (1). Ground deformation rates remained low. Levelling on 3 November showed 12 mm of uplift at the S part of Matupit Island since 20 October. EDM data showed slight expansion (5 microstrain) at Greet Harbour's entrance."

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 P. Lowenstein, RVO.