Report on Rabaul (Papua New Guinea) — 16 April-22 April 2008
Smithsonian Institution / US Geological Survey
Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 16 April-22 April 2008
Managing Editor: Sally Sennert.
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2008. Report on Rabaul (Papua New Guinea) (Sennert, S, ed.). Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 16 April-22 April 2008. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
Papua New Guinea
4.271°S, 152.203°E; summit elev. 688 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
During 18-19 April, the Darwin VAAC reported that low-level ash-and-steam plumes from Rabaul were observed on satellite imagery drifting ESE. According to the VAAC, RVO advised that ash eruptions continued and rocks were expelled during explosions. RVO reported several explosions on 21 April. Billowing ash plumes drifted W and SE during 21-23 April, and caused ashfall about 2 km away in N Matupit on 22 April and areas downwind on 23 April.
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.