Report on Ambrym (Vanuatu) — 14 March-20 March 2018
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 14 March-20 March 2018
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2018. Report on Ambrym (Vanuatu). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 14 March-20 March 2018. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
16.25°S, 168.12°E; summit elev. 1334 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
On 19 March the Vanuatu Geohazards Observatory (VGO) reported that, based on photos taken during February-March, the lava lakes in Ambrym’s Benbow and Marum craters continued to be active and produced gas-and-steam emissions. Visitors occasionally reported smelling volcanic gases and hearing explosions. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 0-5); the report reminded the public to stay outside of the Permanent Danger Zone defined as a 1-km radius from Benbow Crater and a 2.7-km radius from Marum Crater.
Geologic Background. Ambrym, a large basaltic volcano with a 12-km-wide caldera, is one of the most active volcanoes of the New Hebrides arc. A thick, almost exclusively pyroclastic sequence, initially dacitic, then basaltic, overlies lava flows of a pre-caldera shield volcano. The caldera was formed during a major plinian eruption with dacitic pyroclastic flows about 1900 years ago. Post-caldera eruptions, primarily from Marum and Benbow cones, have partially filled the caldera floor and produced lava flows that ponded on the caldera floor or overflowed through gaps in the caldera rim. Post-caldera eruptions have also formed a series of scoria cones and maars along a fissure system oriented ENE-WSW. Eruptions have apparently occurred almost yearly during historical time from cones within the caldera or from flank vents. However, from 1850 to 1950, reporting was mostly limited to extra-caldera eruptions that would have affected local populations.