Date:         Mon, 19 Sep 1994 18:13:39 MST
Reply-To: VOLCANO 
Sender: VOLCANO 
From: Graeme Wheller 
Subject:      Rabaul eruption update 3
To: Multiple recipients of list VOLCANO 
Status: OR

----------------------------Original message----------------------------
Rabaul's eruption is front-page headline news in today's Australian
newspapers. "The Australian" (national audience) reports that 30,000 people
fled the eruption and at least two people were killed. One was an 11 year
old boy who was hit by a truck. The other was a man struck by lightning.

"The Age" (Melbourne, Victoria) has a colour photo of a large ash plume
derived from aerial video and a nice graphic of Rabaul harbour showing
locations of vents, a diagrammatic magma path from chamber to vent beneath
Vulcan, and the ash clouds with associated rain and mudslides. It also
has a Bureau of Meteorology satellite image showing a wide plume trending
south from Rabaul, not quite reaching the mainland, and reaching 10 km
in height. The text reports the evacuation of 40,000 people. It also
mentions that "heavily populated" Matupit island in the harbour had
"disintegrated and disappeared". This was confirmed by a spokesman from
the PNG National Disaster and Emergency Services and by the Australian
International Development Assistance Bureau.

"The Age" also reports that earthquakes and harmonic tremor from the
eruption had been detected at Alice Springs in central Australia.

"The Mercury" (Hobart, Tasmania) says 30,000 people fled Rabaul and reports
unnamed volcanologists as saying the eruption could go on for at least
four days. It also carries an interesting note that during WWII, when
the Japanese occupied Rabaul, Australian and American forces tried to set
off an eruption by bombing the craters. The bombs appear to have found
their targets but didn't have the desired effect!

Radio news this morning (Tuesday) from the Australian Broadcasting
Commission carried a second-hand report from a pilot who was flying near
Rabaul at the time Vulcan exploded. He was reported as seeing "shimmering
shockwaves extending right across the harbour" and that "there was light
flashing out on both sides of the volcanic cone", "it was an extraordinarily
spectacular display and at the same time there were the explosions from
Mt Tavurvur on the other side of the harbour". Someone else was reported as
"seeing a series of eruptions underneath the sea running across the

Graeme Wheller
Consultant Geologist
Volcanex International Pty Ltd
Phone/Fax: domestic (002) 298057 international +61 02 298057