Report on Ambae (Vanuatu) — 29 December-4 January 2022
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
29 December-4 January 2022
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2021. Report on Ambae (Vanuatu). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 29 December-4 January 2022. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
15.389°S, 167.835°E; summit elev. 1496 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
The Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards Department (VMGD) stated that ash-and-gas plumes from Ambae had recently become more noticeable and that residents had reported minor ashfall on roofs and crops. Webcam images showed ash plumes drifting ENE at 1730 and 1830 on 2 January. At 0600 on 3 January an ash-and-steam plume rose 5 km, though only the lower portion of the plume contained ash. At 0730 that same day an ash plume rose almost 1.6 km. 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.