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    Tavurvur (Mount Tavurvur) East New Britain Province Papua New Guinea
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Australian Army 1941

Location
Tavurvur is an active stratovolcano located southeast of Rabaul east of Matupi Island and Lakunai Airfield on the southern edge of the Gazelle Peninsula in East New Britain Province in Papua New Guinea (PNG). To the south is Sulphur Point. Also known as Tavurvur volcano or Mt. Tavurvur or Mount Tavurvur.

Wartime History
During 1937, Tavurvur had a major eruption that destroyed Rabaul town. Another large eruption happened during 1941. Prewar, Dr. Fisher was the volcanologist based at the Observatory Ridge (Volcano Observatory).

During the Japanese landing at Rabaul on the night of January 22-23, 1942, an eruption illuminated the night sky, helping to guide the Japanese landing force ashore. During the Japanese occupation of Rabaul 1942-1945, minor eruptions from Tavurvur sometimes interfered with flight operations at Lakunai Airfield and Rabaul.

During the war, Dr. Fisher was consulted by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) about the possibility of triggering an eruption by dropping aerial bombs into the volcano.

During early 1943, a single B-17s from the 43rd Bomb Group dropped two 2,000 lbs bombs into the crater of Tavurvur, but failed to cause any eruption. Other Allied planes dropped bombs into the crater of Tavurvur, but it is unconfirmed if these bombings were deliberate or accidental. None triggered an eruption.

During the Japanese occupation of Rabaul 1942-1945, ash from Tavurvur sometimes interfered with operations at nearby Lakunai Airfield or coated aircraft.

Today
During 1994, Tavurvur had another major eruption that covered Rabaul and the entire area in ash.

References
Volcano Town
SMH "Qantas reroutes flights as PNG's Rabaul Volcano erupts" August 29, 2014

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Last Updated
May 17, 2018

 

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