Rabaul Caldera, New Britain Island, Papua New Guinea

Additional Photos of the 1994 Eruption

All photos courtesy of Chris McKee of the Rabaul Volcano Observatory.

Volcanic unrest at Rabaul oftens takes the form of uplift. For example, Mantupit Island rose about 6 feet (2 m) between 1971 and 1983-1985. This photo shows uplift in the bay prior to the 1994 eruption. Note that the floor of the bay is now above sea level.

Ground deformation was even more dramatic just prior to the 1994 eruption. This photo shows a tide gauge stranded (uplifted) well above sea level. The night before the eruption uplift near Vulcan was about 18 feet (6 m).

The 1994 eruption began at Tavurvur. This photo shows the dense eruption plume (height of less than 1 km) over the town of Rabaul and drifting to the northwest.

Vulcan began erupting 71 minutes after Tavurvur. Note the presence of pyroclastic flows very early in the eruption.

During the 1994 eruptions, as in the 1878 and 1937 eruptions, vents at both Tavurvur and Vulcan were active simultaneously on opposite sides of the caldera.

The heavy ashfall destroyed about two-thirds of the town of Rabaul. Note the numerous collapsed roofs. Some buildings were spared because ash was swept from their roofs as soon as possible.

This satellite photo shows the distribution of ash after the 1994 eruption.

Information Sources: McKee, C.O., 1997, Lessons from unrest and eruption at Rabaul, in Program and Abstract 2nd Merapi Decade Volcano International Workshop, Volcanological Survey of Indonesia and UNESCO, p. 36.
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