Report on Ambae (Vanuatu) — 11 April-17 April 2018
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 11 April-17 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, 11 April-17 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)
Based on observations from satellites, webcams, pilots, and the Vanuatu Geohazards Observatory (local community reports), the Wellington VAAC reported that during 11-14 April ash plumes from the vent at Ambae’s Lake Voui rose to altitudes of 1.8-4.9 km (6,000-16,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted N, NW, W, and SE. On 12 April news articles noted that ashfall had affected the N part of Ambae, with photos showing thick ashfall deposits on houses and agricultural land, and reports of contaminated water supplies. On 15 April a VAAC office reported that the eruption has ceased. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a scale of 0-5).
Geologic Background. 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.