Large-scale volcanic cone collapse: The 1888 slope failure of Ritter volcano, and other examples from Papua New Guinea

Abstract

A largely submarine avalanche amphitheatre that formed catastrophically in 1888 on Ritter volcano has been identified from a bathymetric survey. Collapse of the volcano in 1888 therefore is considered to have been caused by rapid, large-scale slope failure, rather than by cauldron subsidence, as previously supposed. Escarpments of pre-historic slope failures are common on other Papua New Guinea volcanoes. Directions of avalanching on some volcanoes in the Bismarck volcanic arc appear to be controlled by a regional stress pattern, and those for some volcanoes in the Fly-Highlands province on mainland Papua New Guinea point away from the regional centre of Pliocene uplift. Large amphitheatres such as at Doma Peaks in the Fly-High-lands province probably originated by multiple collapses.

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Correspondence to R. W. Johnson.

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Johnson, R.W. Large-scale volcanic cone collapse: The 1888 slope failure of Ritter volcano, and other examples from Papua New Guinea. Bull Volcanol 49, 669–679 (1987). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01080358

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Keywords

  • Regional Centre
  • Pliocene
  • Sedimentology
  • Slope Failure
  • Regional Stress