Report on Ambae (Vanuatu) — 4 April-10 April 2018
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
4 April-10 April 2018
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2018. Report on Ambae (Vanuatu). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 4 April-10 April 2018. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
15.389°S, 167.835°E; summit elev. 1496 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
Vanuatu Geohazards Observatory (VGO) reported sustained ash and/or gas emissions from Ambae’s Lake Voui during March through 4 April. Satellite data showed a significant sulfur dioxide gas emission (~0.15 Tg SO2) beginning in the very early hours of 6 April, indicating that the SO2 emission was the largest since Calbuco in April 2015. No significant high-altitude ash plume accompanied the emission, though the eruption generated lightning detected by the WWLLN (World Wide Lightning Location Network). Pictures of local areas posted on social media showed the continuing and significant ashfall on the island. Within a few days, by 8 April, the sulfur dioxide plume had spread across an area from the E coast of Australia to Tahiti, a distance of about 6,000 km. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a scale of 0-5).
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.