Saturday, 30 August 2014

Eruptions on Mount Tavurvur.

Mount Tavurvur, an active stratovolcano (cone-shaped volcano) on the eastern part of the Rabul Caldera on the Island of New Britain, part of Papua New Guinea, underwent a major eruption on Friday 29 August 2014, producing a n ash column which rose 18 000 m above the mountain's summit, according to the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre. The volcano continued to erupt through Saturday 30 August, with hot ash and chunks of rock being thrown several hundred meters from it's crater, but has shown no signs of a repeat of Friday's event, and activity appears to be subsiding.

Ash column over Mount Tavurvur on Friday 29 August 2014. AFP.

The Rabaul Caldera lies at the northern end of the island of New Britain, forming a peninsula and natural harbour, with the town of Rabaul on its northern rim. Unfortunately the caldera also has a number of active volcanoes of around its rim, which have led to serious problems for the town over its history, most notably in 1937 and 1994, when simultaneous eruptions from two volcanoes (Tavurvur and Vulcan) killed 507 and 5 people respectively. The town has been partially evacuated as a result of Friday's eruption.

The Rabaul Caldera. USGS.

New Britain lies on the boundary between the South Bismarck and Solomon Sea tectonic plates. The Solomon Sea Plate is being subducted beneath the South Bismarck Plate, which causes friction as the plates rub together, occasionally leading to Earthquakes. As the Solomon Sea Plate sinks into the Earth it is melted by the heat of the planets interior. Some of the melted material then rises through the overlying South Bismarck Plate, fueling the volcanoes of New Britain.

The subduction of the Solomon Sea Plate beneath New Britain. Oregon State University.

See also...

A Magnitude 6.5 at a depth of 63 km occurred beneath the interior of western New Britain Island, Papua New...

Mount Langila is an active complex volcano comprised of four overlapping craters emerging from the northeast flank of the extinct Talawe Volcano on Cape Gloucester at the western tip of New Britain, Papua New Guinea...

On Sunday 29 July 2012, slightly after 6.00 am local time (slightly after 8.00 pm on Saturday 28 July, GMT) the Papuan islands of New Ireland and New Britain were shaken by an Earthquake 20 km east of the southern coast of New Ireland, recorded by the United States Geological Survey as measuring 6.6 on the Richter... 

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