Report on Yasur (Vanuatu) — 26 May-1 June 2010
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 26 May-1 June 2010
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2010. Report on Yasur (Vanuatu). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 26 May-1 June 2010. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
19.53°S, 169.442°E; summit elev. 361 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
The Vanuatu Geohazards Observatory reported that the Vanuatu Volcano Alert Level (VVAL) for Yasur was increased to 3 (on a scale of 0-4) on 27 May. Recent activity was characterized by moderate to large eruptions with strong explosions, ejected bombs that fell on the visitor viewing area, and significant ashfall in nearby villages. Visitors were not allowed to enter a restricted zone, within about 500 m around the volcano. Activity had been escalating since January 2010. According to a news article, an eruption plume on 1 June rose to an altitude of 1.8 km (6,000 ft) a.s.l. and spread over 340 square kilometers, canceling or delaying some flights in and out of New Caledonia (about 430 km WSW).
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.