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Report on Ambae (Vanuatu) — 5 April-11 April 2023


Smithsonian Institution / US Geological Survey
Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 5 April-11 April 2023
Managing Editor: Sally Sennert.

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2023. Report on Ambae (Vanuatu) (Sennert, S, ed.). Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 5 April-11 April 2023. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Weekly Report (5 April-11 April 2023)



15.389°S, 167.835°E; summit elev. 1496 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

The cone in Ambaeā€™s Lake Voui continued to produce emissions consisting of steam, volcanic gases, and ash that drifted downwind during 5-7 April, based on reports from Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards Department (VMGD) and Wellington VAAC notices. On 5 April low-level intermittent plumes of gas and ash rose as high as 2.5 km above the crater rim and drifted W and SW. A loud explosion followed by a dark ash emission was possibly reported. Webcam images from 2100 showed incandescence above the crater and reflected in the clouds. Intermittent emissions of gas-and-steam and gas-and-ash were visible on 7 April. Plumes rose an estimated 3 km above the crater rim and drifted E. Webcam images during 0107-0730 on 7 April showed continuing ash emissions. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 0-5) and the public was warned to stay outside of the Danger Zone, defined as a 2-km radius around the active vents in Lake Voui, and away from drainages during heavy rains.

Geological Summary. The island of Ambae, also known as Aoba, is a massive 2,500 km3 basaltic shield that is the most voluminous volcano of the New Hebrides archipelago. A pronounced NE-SW-trending rift zone dotted with scoria cones gives the 16 x 38 km island an elongated form. A broad pyroclastic cone containing three crater lakes (Manaro Ngoru, Voui, and Manaro Lakua) is located at the summit within the youngest of at least two nested calderas, the largest of which is 6 km in diameter. That large central edifice is also called Manaro Voui or Lombenben volcano. Post-caldera explosive eruptions formed the summit craters about 360 years ago. A tuff cone was constructed within Lake Voui (or Vui) about 60 years later. The latest known flank eruption, about 300 years ago, destroyed the population of the Nduindui area near the western coast.

Sources: Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards Department (VMGD), Wellington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC)