Culture

Watch an explosive volcanic eruption in Papua New Guinea

An Australian holidaymaker in Papua New Guinea captured an explosive volcanic eruption on camera -- complete with sonic boom.

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Screenshot by Michelle Starr/CNET

Most of us will never see a volcanic eruption in the flesh -- but one holidaymaker got really lucky. Townsville, Queensland-based taxi driver Philip McNamara, 58, was on holiday in Papua New Guinea, boating the South Pacific Ocean around the northernmost tip of New Britain -- the home of active volcano Tavurvur.

Its most recent eruption occurred on August 29 -- and McNamara was there not only to see, but to film it in action from his vantage point in the ocean. The video, which runs for just over a minute, starts relatively calmly, with a hazy cloud surrounding the peak -- followed by a sudden burst of ash shooting into the air -- and a sonic boom that shakes McNamara's boat.

"It was a spur of the moment thing to head out and film the volcano," McNamara told the Brisbane Times. "We saw it erupting and the ladies from Kokopo Beach Bungalows where we were staying said they could take us out on the boat to get a closer look. I thought I might as well try and capture something you rarely get to see."

The result is a front-row seat to a seismic spectacle of epic proportions.