Outward-Dipping Ring-Fault Structure at Rabaul Caldera as Shown by Earthquake Locations

Science  09 Jan 1987:
Vol. 235, Issue 4785, pp. 193-195
DOI: 10.1126/science.235.4785.193


The locations of a large number of earthquakes recorded at Rabaul caldera in Papua New Guinea from late 1983 to mid-1985 have produced a picture of this active caldera's structural boundary. The earthquake epicenters form an elliptical annulus about 10 kilometers long by 4 kilometers wide, centered in the southern part of the Rabaul volcanic complex. A set of events with well-constrained depth determinations shows a ring-fault structure that extends from the surface to a depth of about 4 kilometers and slopes steeply outward from the center of the caldera. This is the first geophysical data set that clearly outlines the orientation of an active caldera's bounding faults. This orientation, however, conflicts with the configuration of many other calderas and is not in keeping with currently preferred models of caldera formation.