PNG's Mount Tavurvur cools down | Pacific Beat

PNG's Mount Tavurvur cools down

PNG's Mount Tavurvur cools down

Updated 31 January 2013, 20:49 AEDT

A volcano in Papua New Guinea which spewed huge plumes of ash clouds into the sky has slowed down its seismic activity.

The Mount Tavurvur in Rabaul in PNG's East New Britain province rumbled back to life early this month forcing the suspension of some airline flights.

Firmin Nanol reports:

Presenter: Firmin Nanol

Speaker: Director of the Rabaul Volcanological Observatory, Ima Itikarai, John Gitiri is the Deputy Principal of PNG's Gordon Secondary School, The East New Britain provincial Disaster Coordinator, Allan Pinia

It erupted three times in 1994, 2006 and 2008, which caused massive destruction to properties and destroyed the old provincial capital Rabaul, which was later moved to Kokopo, some 20 kilometres away from the volcano.

The Rabaul Vulcanological Observatory says it spewed ash clouds of up to 4-500 metres last week.

PNG's Civil Aviation Authorities have now reopened the Tokua airport which was closed indefinitely after the ash clouds blew over the aerodrome.

The closure had greatly affecting hundreds of passengers, including school children.

Mt Tavurvur sits on the Pacific Ring of Fire- an area where a chain of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur in the basin of the Pacific Ocean.

It's caused by movement of huge chunks of the earth called tectonic plates under the Pacific Ocean floor and include countries like Japan, New Zealand, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Seismologist and the assistant Director of the Rabaul Volcanological Observatory, Ima Itikarai, says the recent seismic activity on Mt Tavurvur has slowed down.

He says the ash plumes which were spewed by Mt Tavurvur has lowered over Rabaul and the Tokua airport.

Passengers have been affected as flights in and out of Rabaul were suspended indefinitely over safety precautions.

John Gitiri is the Deputy Principal of PNG's Gordon Secondary School who needs to get back to Port Moresby before the 2013 school year begins next week.

He says he's still stranded in Rabaul and fears missing out on teaching.

But he says airline operators and the provincial authorities should put in place contingencies as Mt Tavurvur volcano will always be there.

The East New Britain provincial Disaster Coordinator, Allan Pinia says business is normal.

He says they will only rely on the Rabaul Volcano Observatory for any possible evacuations if there is a major eruption.

PNG's National flag carrier, Air Niugini says it will resume operations once the Tokua airport is re-opened, which is now been reopened.

Some of the its passengers made their way out of Rabaul in the last couple of days by boat or a ferry to Kavieng who were then uplifted from the Kavieng airport.

All airline operators are considering resuming flights into Rabaul's Tokua airport soon following the news of the re-opening of the Tokua airport.

As for now life is normal for the residents of Rabaul and Kokopo, but who knows what Mother Nature could bring next.

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