Matthew Island

Photo of this volcano
  • Country
  • Volcanic Region
  • Primary Volcano Type
  • Last Known Eruption
  • 22.33°S
  • 171.32°E

  • 177 m
    581 ft

  • 258010
  • Latitude
  • Longitude

  • Summit
    Elevation

  • Volcano
    Number

Most Recent Bulletin Report: March 1983 (SEAN 08:03) Citation IconCite this Report


White vapor from central crater

A Vanuatu government team arrived at Matthew Island on 10 March at 0700. The only activity noted was emission of wispy, white vapor from the central crater in the island's W (main) edifice.

Further Reference. Maillet, P., Monzier, M., and Lefevre, C., 1987, Petrology of Matthew and Hunter volcanoes, South New Hebrides Island Arc (Southwest Pacific): JVGR, v. 30, p. 1-29.

Information Contacts: A. Macfarlane, Dept. of Geology, Mines, and Rural Water Supplies, Vanuatu.

The Global Volcanism Program has no Weekly Reports available for Matthew Island.

Bulletin Reports - Index


Reports are organized chronologically and indexed below by Month/Year (Publication Volume:Number), and include a one-line summary. Click on the index link or scroll down to read the reports.

12/1976 (NSEB 01:15) Extensive dust clouds and water discoloration

01/1977 (NSEB 02:01) Additional details from 27 November observation flight

07/1977 (NSEB 02:07) Photograph from 11 February showing the vent

03/1983 (SEAN 08:03) White vapor from central crater




Information is preliminary and subject to change. All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


December 1976 (NSEB 01:15) Citation IconCite this Report


Extensive dust clouds and water discoloration

On 27 November, the crew of a RNZAF P3 aircraft noted extensive dust clouds above Matthew Island, and discoloration of the surrounding water. The New Zealand Defense Scientific Establishment is investigating this activity.

Information Contacts: J. Latter, DSIR, Wellington; Defense Scientific Establishment, Auckland; J. Barnes, N.Z. Defense Staff, Washington DC.


January 1977 (NSEB 02:01) Citation IconCite this Report


Additional details from 27 November observation flight

The following is additional information obtained by the RNZAF from the crew of the aircraft that flew over Matthew Island on 27 November.

During the overflight, the volcano emitted a gray dust cloud that merged with a layer of stratus clouds (held to about 350 m altitude by a temperature inversion). A strong sulfur odor was present in the area. Muddy gray discolored water was carried SE by the current. Because of poor weather and light conditions, no photographs were taken. More recent information on the activity is not available.

Information Contacts: Defense Scientific Establishment, Auckland; J. Barnes, N.Z. Defense Staff, Washington DC.


July 1977 (NSEB 02:07) Citation IconCite this Report


Photograph from 11 February showing the vent

[An RNZAF crew flew over Matthew Island on 11 February and photographed the volcano. The vent was weakly emitting vapor (figure 1).]

Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. Photograph taken from the N on 11 February 1977, showing the vent and about 2/3 of Matthew Island. Photograph taken by the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF).

Information Contacts: I. Nairn, NZGS, Rotorua.


March 1983 (SEAN 08:03) Citation IconCite this Report


White vapor from central crater

A Vanuatu government team arrived at Matthew Island on 10 March at 0700. The only activity noted was emission of wispy, white vapor from the central crater in the island's W (main) edifice.

Further Reference. Maillet, P., Monzier, M., and Lefevre, C., 1987, Petrology of Matthew and Hunter volcanoes, South New Hebrides Island Arc (Southwest Pacific): JVGR, v. 30, p. 1-29.

Information Contacts: A. Macfarlane, Dept. of Geology, Mines, and Rural Water Supplies, Vanuatu.

Eruptive History


Summary of Holocene eruption dates and Volcanic Explosivity Indices (VEI).


Start Date Stop Date Eruption Certainty VEI Evidence Activity Area or Unit
[ 1976 Nov 27 ] [ Unknown ] Uncertain 1  
[ 1966 Aug 16 ± 15 days ] [ Unknown ] Uncertain    
[ 1963 Sep 11 ] [ 1964 Jul 2 ± 182 days ] Uncertain     Norfolk Island Ridge
1956 Jul 2 ± 2 years ± 182 days Unknown Confirmed 0 Historical Observations West-Matthew
1954 Oct 16 (?) ± 15 days Unknown Confirmed 2 Historical Observations West-Matthew (October 1954, not 1953)
1949 (in or before) Unknown Confirmed 2 Historical Observations West-Matthew
[ 1828 Jan ] [ Unknown ] Uncertain    

This compilation of synonyms and subsidiary features may not be comprehensive. Features are organized into four major categories: Cones, Craters, Domes, and Thermal Features. Synonyms of features appear indented below the primary name. In some cases additional feature type, elevation, or location details are provided.

Photo Gallery


On November 27, 1976, a "dust cloud," water discoloration, and sulfur odor were reported from Matthew Island. It was later noted that no noticeable eruptive event or change in island morphology had occurred since 1958. This February 1977 photo shows the steaming crater of Matthew Island volcano.

Photo by Royal New Zealand Air Force, 1977.
See title for photo information.
Isolated Matthew Island is composed of two low cones separated by a narrow isthmus. Matthew Island was discovered in 1788 by a ship captain, who named the island after the owner of his vessel. Only the triangular eastern portion of the small, 0.6 x 1.2 km wide island was present prior to the 1940's, when construction of the larger western segment (part of which is seen in the photo) began. The 177-m-high western cone consists primarily of lava flows and contains a crater that is breached to the NW.

Photo by Royal New Zealand Air Force, 1977.
See title for photo information.

Smithsonian Sample Collections Database


There are no samples for Matthew Island in the Smithsonian's NMNH Department of Mineral Sciences Rock and Ore collection.

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