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Report on Raoul Island (New Zealand) — 15 March-21 March 2006

Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 15 March-21 March 2006
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2006. Report on Raoul Island (New Zealand). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 15 March-21 March 2006. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Volcano Profile |  Weekly Report (15 March-21 March 2006)


Raoul Island

New Zealand

29.27°S, 177.92°W; summit elev. 516 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


An eruption began in the Green Lake area of Raoul Island volcano on 17 March around 0821. Based on interpretations of seismic data, the eruption appeared to have lasted for 30 minutes, with the most intense activity lasting 5-10 minutes. The eruption consisted of the ejection of mud and rocks, and a steam plume. A strong sequence of earthquakes began during the evening of the 12th that declined in number and size a few days before the 17th. According to GNS, the eruption appeared to have occurred with no immediate warning. New Zealand Department of Conservation officials evacuated a dozen staff on the island. News articles reported that one person remained missing on the island as of 22 March. The last eruption from the Green Lake area occurred during November 1964-April 1965.

Geologic Background. Anvil-shaped Raoul Island is the largest and northernmost of the Kermadec Islands. During the past several thousand years volcanism has been dominated by dacitic explosive eruptions. Two Holocene calderas exist, the older of which cuts the center the island and is about 2.5 x 3.5 km wide. Denham caldera, formed during a major dacitic explosive eruption about 2200 years ago, truncated the W side of the island and is 6.5 x 4 km wide. Its long axis is parallel to the tectonic fabric of the Havre Trough that lies W of the volcanic arc. Historical eruptions during the 19th and 20th centuries have sometimes occurred simultaneously from both calderas, and have consisted of small-to-moderate phreatic eruptions, some of which formed ephemeral islands in Denham caldera. An unnamed submarine cone, one of several located along a fissure on the lower NNE flank, has also erupted during historical time, and satellitic vents are concentrated along two parallel NNE-trending lineaments.

Sources: GeoNet, Wellington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Associated Press