Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network

All reports of volcanic activity published by the Smithsonian since 1968 are available through a monthly table of contents or by searching for a specific volcano. Until 1975, reports were issued for individual volcanoes as information became available; these have been organized by month for convenience. Later publications were done in a monthly newsletter format. Links go to the profile page for each volcano with the Bulletin tab open.

Information is preliminary at time of publication and subject to change.

 Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network - Volume 41, Number 12 (December 2016)

Managing Editor: Edward Venzke

Yasur (Vanuatu)

Frequent explosions and thermal anomalies continue through October 2016

Yasur (Vanuatu) — December 2016 Citation iconCite this Report



19.53°S, 169.442°E; summit elev. 361 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

Frequent explosions and thermal anomalies continue through October 2016

A previous report on Yasur (also called Tanna) from November 2013 (BGVN 38:11) noted weak explosions with ash and steam emissions during several months of 2013. This report discusses activity from December 2013 through October 2016. No reports about Yasur from the Vanuatu Geohazards Observatory (VGO) for 2014 are known.

A report from VGO on 27 April 2015 noted that the volcano continued in a state of unrest, and the Alert Level remained at 1 (on a scale of 0-4). VGO reminded residents and tourists that areas near the crater and areas prone to ash and gas as carried by the trade winds should be avoided. On 13 November VGO reported that activity had increased, with more intense explosions. The Alert Level was raised to 2. On 15 December 2015, VGO again reported that explosions had become more intense.

On 14 January 2016 VGO reported that explosions had become more intense, but the baseline level or previous reference day for that evaluation was not specified. Tour operator John Seach (Volcano Live), who makes frequent trips to the summit craters, described the continuing eruption in January 2016 as mildly Strombolian. VGO noted that explosions remained intense in reports from 31 March, 27 May, 28 June, 2 August, 9 September, and 10 October 2016. VGO reminded residents and tourists to avoid the permanent Exclusion Zone within 600 m of the crater (figure 45); the Alert Level remained at 2.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 45. Yasur Safety Map showing the hazard zones and nearby infrastructure. Courtesy of the Vanuatu Geohazards Observatory.

MODIS/MODVOLC thermal anomalies were numerous during the reporting period, with at least one every month. The MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity) volcano hotspot detection system, also based on analysis of MODIS data, detected almost continuous anomalies during October 2015-September 2016; the radiative power of the hotspots were all in the low or moderate range.

Geologic Background. Yasur, the best-known and most frequently visited of the Vanuatu volcanoes, has been in more-or-less continuous strombolian and vulcanian activity since Captain Cook observed ash eruptions in 1774. This style of activity may have continued for the past 800 years. Located at the SE tip of Tanna Island, this mostly unvegetated pyroclastic cone has a nearly circular, 400-m-wide summit crater. Yasur is largely contained within the small Yenkahe caldera and is the youngest of a group of Holocene volcanic centers constructed over the down-dropped NE flank of the Pleistocene Tukosmeru volcano. The Yenkahe horst is located within the Siwi ring fracture, a 4-km-wide, horseshoe-shaped caldera associated with eruption of the andesitic Siwi pyroclastic sequence. Active tectonism along the Yenkahe horst accompanying eruptions has raised Port Resolution harbor more than 20 m during the past century.

Information Contacts: Vanuatu Geohazards Observatory (VGO), Department of Geology, Mines and Water Resources of Vanuatu (URL: http://www.geohazards.gov.vu/); John Seach, Volcano Live (URL: http://volcanolive.com/index.html); Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) MODVOLC Thermal Alerts System, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Univ. of Hawai'i, 2525 Correa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA (URL: 2/12/2016http://hotspot.higp.hawaii.edu/); MIROVA (Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity), a collaborative project between the Universities of Turin and Florence (Italy) supported by the Centre for Volcanic Risk of the Italian Civil Protection Department (URL: http://www.mirovaweb.it/).

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 Atmospheric Effects

The enormous aerosol cloud from the March-April 1982 eruption of Mexico's El Chichón persisted for years in the stratosphere, and led to the Atmospheric Effects section becoming a regular feature of the Bulletin. Descriptions of the initial dispersal of major eruption clouds remain with the individual eruption reports, but observations of long-term stratospheric aerosol loading will be found in this section.

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 Special Announcements

Special announcements of various kinds and obituaries.

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 Additional Reports

Reports are sometimes published that are not related to a Holocene volcano. These might include observations of a Pleistocene volcano, earthquake swarms, or floating pumice. Reports are also sometimes published in which the source of the activity is unknown or the report is determined to be false. All of these types of additional reports are listed below by subregion and subject.


False Report of Sea of Marmara Eruption

Africa (northeastern) and Red Sea

False Report of Somalia Eruption

Africa (eastern)

False Report of Elgon Eruption

Kermadec Islands

Floating Pumice (Kermadec Islands)

1986 Submarine Explosion

Tonga Islands

Floating Pumice (Tonga)

Fiji Islands

Floating Pumice (Fiji)

New Britain


Andaman Islands

False Report of Andaman Islands Eruptions

Sangihe Islands

1968 Northern Celebes Earthquake

Kawio Barat


False Report of Mount Pinokis Eruption

Southeast Asia

Pumice Raft (South China Sea)

Land Subsidence near Ham Rong

Ryukyu Islands and Kyushu

Pumice Rafts (Ryukyu Islands)

Izu, Volcano, and Mariana Islands

Mikura Seamount

Acoustic Signals in 1996 from Unknown Source

Acoustic Signals in 1999-2000 from Unknown Source

Kuril Islands

Possible 1988 Eruption Plume



Aleutian Islands

Possible 1986 Eruption Plume


False Report of New Volcano




La Lorenza Mud Volcano



Pacific Ocean (Chilean Islands)

False Report of Submarine Volcanism

Central Chile and Argentina

Estero de Parraguirre

West Indies

Mid-Cayman Spreading Center

Atlantic Ocean (northern)

Northern Reykjanes Ridge


Azores-Gibraltar Fracture Zone

Antarctica and South Sandwich Islands

Jun Jaegyu

East Scotia Ridge

 Special Announcements

Special Announcement Reports