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Report on Rabaul (Papua New Guinea) — 28 February-6 March 2007


Smithsonian Institution / US Geological Survey
Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 28 February-6 March 2007
Managing Editor: Sally Sennert.

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2007. Report on Rabaul (Papua New Guinea) (Sennert, S, ed.). Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 28 February-6 March 2007. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Weekly Report (28 February-6 March 2007)


Papua New Guinea

4.2459°S, 152.1937°E; summit elev. 688 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

RVO reported that during 28 February-6 March, Rabaul caldera's Tavurvur cone emitted white vapor plumes containing a small amount of ash that rose to 1.2-1.7 km (3,900-5,600 ft) a.s.l. and drifted ENE and E. Loud roaring noises occasionally accompanied emissions. During 3-6 March, multiple explosions occurred. Larger explosions produced shockwaves that rattled windows in Rabaul town and surrounding areas on 3 and 5 March. The flanks were showered with lava fragments. On 4 and 6 March, ash plumes rose to a maximum altitude of 2.7 km (8,900 ft) a.s.l. and drifted E and SE. Ashfall was reported from areas downwind during the reporting period.

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 asymmetrical 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 1,400 years ago. An earlier caldera-forming eruption about 7,100 years ago is thought to have originated from Tavui caldera, offshore to the north. Three small stratovolcanoes lie outside the N and NE caldera rims. Post-caldera eruptions built basaltic-to-dacitic pyroclastic cones on the caldera floor near the NE and W 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.

Source: Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO)