BackgroundRabaul is the easternmost member of the volcanic Bismarck arc and located on the north eastern end of the Gazelle Peninsula at the NE end of New Britain. Thanks to its shape forming a sheltered harbor Rabaul city was the island's largest city prior to the major eruption in 1994.
The 8 x 14 km caldera was formed by at least 2 major eruptions. One about 7100 years ago formed Tavui caldera offshore to the north and a second eruption about 1400 years ago created the present-day shape. These plinian eruptions deposited thick tuff layers from pyroclastic flows that form the gentle outer slopes of the volcanic complex.
The caldera has a wide opening to the east where the sea forms Blanche Bay. 3 small stratovolcanoes lie N and NE outside the caldera. Volcanic activity inside the caldera since the last caldera-forming eruption produced various lavas ranging from basaltic to dacitic. Several vents have built cinder cones, including the historically very active Vulcan and Tavurvur. Other vents include Turanguna, Rabalanakia, Sulphur Creek, Kombiu ("mother"), and Beehives. In 1994, both Vulcan and Tavurvur erupted simulaneously, forcing the temporary abandonment of Rabaul city.
Rabaul (Tavurvur) Photos
eruption and ashfall at tavurvur (Rabaul) 2011 (Photo: Tom222)
Ash-spewing Tavurvur volcano and the ash-covered Bay of Rabaul, Papua New Guinea (Photo: Paul Nicholson)
Eruption of Tavurvur volcano, Rabaul caldera (Photo: Ulla Lohmann)
See also: Sentinel hub | Landsat 8 | NASA FIRMS