World

Dramatic PNG volcano quietens

A volcano that has erupted in Papua New Guinea was Saturday spewing fragments from its crater and rumbling loudly, but its activity appeared to be subsiding, a seismologist said.

Mount Tavurvur, which destroyed the town of Rabaul when it erupted simultaneously with nearby Mount Vulcan in 1994, came to life again early Friday, with rocks and ash erupting from its center.

“At the moment we are getting only discrete explosions,” Jonathan Kuduon, a senior seismologist at the Rabaul Volcanological Observatory, told AFP.

“The activity has subsided,” he said, adding that the fragments were reaching less than 200 meters above the crater.

Kuduon said Mount Tavurvur remained a concern, saying officials were worried about the amount of ash in parts of Rabaul, but the kind of eruption — Strombolian (low-level) — meant it could subside quickly.

“Looking at past eruptions, I think the eruptions are getting less and less. Which simply means that the volcano is dying out.”

The Volcanic Ash Advisory Center in the northern Australian city of Darwin said it was keeping a close eye on the situation after Friday’s eruption which saw ash reach 18,000 meters, which is flight level.

“We need to go back to our normal life,” Kudon said. “So long as we have eruptions going it will affect our normal life. We only wish that the volcano can go back to sleep now,” he said.

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