Rabaul 1994

Rabaul erupted in 1994 in Papua New Guinea.

Survey of Buildings

Ash thickness1 in mm

Estimated load2 in kPa

Observed damage to roofs
<100 1.5 - 2.0 Roofs and guttering generally remained intact.
<200 3.0 - 4.0 80-90% of roofs remained intact with little apparent damage. Sagging or partial collapse occurred in some buildings.
<300 4.5 - 6.0 More than 50% of roofs did not collapse.
500-600 7.5 - 12.0 More than 50% of roofs collapsed.
>600 9.0 - 12.0 It is doubtful that buildings survived without significant damage even when the roof remained relatively intact.
1Ash fell wet
2Using this equation and assuming ash density of 1,500 to 2,000 kg/m3
Data from Blong and McKee, 1995.


The 1994 eruption of Rabaul devastated much of the town of Rabaul, with ash deposits as thick as 2 m. The power supply was shut down at the start of the eruption but large sections of the electrical distribution system were damaged by falling-trees and buildings.