9 Feb 2013

Solomons quake unlikely to trigger Tinakula eruption

5:44 am on 9 February 2013

A volcanologist says it's very unlikely that the recent earthquake in Solomon Islands will trigger a large eruption from the nearby Tinakula volcano.

Dr Gill Jolly says it has been proven that this can happen elsewhere in the world but only if the volcano is actively ready to erupt.

She says Tinakula is uninhabited and it is quite unlikely that its activity might impact on neighbouring islands.

She says a worst case scenario would be a large eruption with the side of the volcano collapsing into the sea causing another tsunami.

She says activity was being monitored before the quake.

"There were a lot of foreshocks, earthquakes in the vicinity, both where the magnitude 8 earthquake happened and getting closer towards Tinakula. So people were looking at that a bit more closely. There was a possibility that the earthquakes might have been precursors to volcanic eruptions but in the end it looks like they were predominantly related to the tectonic movements rather than the volcano."

Dr Jolly says governments from New Zealand, Vanuatu and Solomon Islands are hoping to monitor active volcanos like Tinakula more closely and build a Melanesian volcano network but this isn't yet fully established.