Date:         Tue, 20 Sep 1994 08:27:47 +1000
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Sender: QUAKE-L Discussion List 
From: Dr Kevin Vang 
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          Multiple recips of list SEISM-L ,
          Multiple recipients of list VOLCANO 
To: Multiple recipients of list QUAKE-L 
Status: OR

G'day on another very windy morning here in Sydney.  Overnight at Rabaul,
the eruptions continued from at least two cones.  Many reports are
claiming up to 5 eruptive centres, although only the same 2 (Tevurvur and
Vulcan) have been officially confirmed.  An audio report from the Volcano
Observatory has confirmed a third centre, but I am not sure which one.

Simpson Bay is completely covered with a layer of pumice and ash.  This
is not too surprising as even during quiet time, there is a lot of
floating pumice in the bay.  We used to go out in our dinghy in 1989-1990
when I lived there off and on, and there was always lots.

Ash depths in the city are reported from 1/2 foot to several metres.  The
one plantation owner who reported 'several metres' is probably getting
carried away.  However, with the rain compressing everything, its hard to
tell how much is actually there.

Many roofs are collapsed and if the ash fall doesn't stop, prospects for
the town's structures are not too good.

There is also reports of lava flowing from one of the centres, (which one
is not clear).  The ABC was initially reporting the lava flow was heading
toward the city.  This seems very unlikely given the topography of the
bay.  One would imagine that any lava would just flow straight into the bay.

The aerial photographs from this morning just shows big ash columns
erupting out of Vulcan and Tevurvur. I have not seen any pictures of the
town that some news agencies reportedly have.

As for the refugees, there continues to be the problem of the wind
direction.  The winds have been very variable and a shift could bring
some of the makeshift camps downwind.  Relief flights from Australia and
possibly Japan or other countries will likely begin today. They will
likely use the Kerevat Airport as long as the winds keep the ash away.

Evacuations of outlying areas are continuing.

Kevin McCue, the resident government seismologist in Canberra was on the
Today Show.  He straightened out the programs usually over-exaggerated
reporting.  He pointed out that the eruption is likely to last for 4-5
days if past patterns are to be believed.

Kevin Vang