Report on Rabaul (Papua New Guinea) — February 1989
Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, vol. 14, no. 2 (February 1989)
Managing Editor: Lindsay McClelland.
Rabaul (Papua New Guinea) Seismicity increases; minor deformation
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 1989. Report on Rabaul (Papua New Guinea). In: McClelland, L. (ed.), Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, 14:2. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.SEAN198902-252140.
Papua New Guinea
4.271°S, 152.203°E; summit elev. 688 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
"Seismicity increased in February with a total of 239 caldera earthquakes. The average number of events was 6/day with the highest count 68 on the 13th. The eight events that could be located occurred in the W, NW, and E parts of the caldera seismic zone. Ground deformation rates remained low. Slight inflation was recorded in the N-central part of the caldera by dry tilt (2-10 µrad) and levelling (5 mm). Slight deflation was recorded in the W part of the caldera by dry tilt (1.5 µrad). EDM data showed no clear trends."
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: D. Lolok and C. McKee, RVO.