Report on Yasur (Vanuatu) — June 2004

Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, vol. 29, no. 6 (June 2004)
Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman

Yasur (Vanuatu) Intermittent activity detected by satellite after June 2003

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2004. Report on Yasur (Vanuatu). In: Wunderman, R (ed.), Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, 29:6. Smithsonian Institution.

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

Activity consistently identified in MODVOLC thermal alerts through most of 2002 (BGVN 28:01) continued to 4 June 2003, but at lower levels (figure 34). There was usually only one alert pixel on each detection, barely above the detection threshold, with the highest alert ratio of -0.74. After a brief respite, activity was detected several times during 17 September through October 2003. No subsequent activity was detected until 15 March, 10 April, and 28 May 2004. These three alerts each triggered one alert pixel and had low alert ratios, about -0.8, just above the detection threshold. It seems likely that activity continued throughout the period, but was below the MODVOLC threshold most of the time and did not trigger an alert. There were no other reports of activity for this period.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 34. MODIS thermal alerts from Yasur for 1 January 2001-31 May 2004. Thermal alerts collated by Charlotte Saunders and David Rothery; data courtesy of the Hawaii Institute of Geophysics and Planetology's MODIS thermal alert team.

Data acquisition and analysis. Reports from Diego Coppola and David A. Rothery provided analyses of MODIS thermal alerts during 2001 and 2002 (using the MODVOLC alert-detection algorithm) extracted from the MODIS Thermal Alerts website ( maintained by the University of Hawaii HIGP MODIS Thermal Alerts team (BGVN 28:01). Rothery and Charlotte Saunders provided updates to 31 May 2004. MODVOLC data are now routinely available from the Aqua satellite (equator crossing times 0230 and 1430 local time) in addition to the original Terra satellite (equator crossing times 1030 and 2230 local time).

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: David A. Rothery and Charlotte Saunders, Department of Earth Sciences, The Open University, Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA, United Kingdom (Email: