UCL Hazard Centre


Robert Robertson

“Using monitoring data to improve forecasts of eruptions at Rabaul caldera.”

PhD project title:

Can caldera uplift be used to forecast eruptions at Rabaul caldera, Papua New Guinea?

Robert Robertson
Project description:

Papua New Guinea has some of the most active volcanoes in the South West Pacific. This study focusses on Rabaul, a large caldera on the tip of the Gazaelle peninsula in north east New Britain of Papua New Guinea. Within historical times, the volcano has produced simultaneous eruptions, approximately every 50 years (1878, 1937-43, and 1994), from two intra-caldera cones: Vulcan in the south west, and Tavurvur in the north east.

This study takes into account the general volcanism, geology and chemistry of eruptive products from Rabaul, and, using available field data, focuses on the relationship between seismic events and uplift during caldera unrest from 1972 until the most recent eruptions in 1994. This is combined with accessible tomographic data to help identify the deep-to-shallow magmatic feeding system, and to identify possible structures favourably leading to caldera-wide uplift and eruption. Scientific modelling of sill and dyke emplacement will also be undertaken to further investigate the nature of the magmatic feeding system and how magma preferentially escapes to the surface. Together, these findings, along with pre-and post-eruption data, will be important for forming new hypotheses regarding furture volcanic events.


Email: r.robertson@ucl.ac.uk
Supervisors: Prof. Christopher Kilburn

Related PhD publications:

 Deformation regime and long-term precursors to eruption at large calderas: Rabaul, Papua New Guinea. Earth Planet Sci Lett, 438, doi 10.1016j.epsl.2016.01.003.