Report on Ambrym (Vanuatu) — 25 February-3 March 2015
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
25 February-3 March 2015
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2015. Report on Ambrym (Vanuatu). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 25 February-3 March 2015. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
16.25°S, 168.12°E; summit elev. 1334 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
On 2 March the Vanuatu Geohazards Observatory reported that activity at Ambrym had slightly decreased but remained elevated. The Alert Level was lowered to 2 (on a new scale of 0-5). Areas deemed hazardous were near and around the active vents (Benbow, Maben-Mbwelesu, Niri-Mbwelesu and Mbwelesu), and in downwind areas prone to ashfall.
Geological Summary. Ambrym, a large basaltic volcano with a 12-km-wide caldera, is one of the most active volcanoes of the New Hebrides Arc. A thick, almost exclusively pyroclastic sequence, initially dacitic then basaltic, overlies lava flows of a pre-caldera shield volcano. The caldera was formed during a major Plinian eruption with dacitic pyroclastic flows about 1,900 years ago. Post-caldera eruptions, primarily from Marum and Benbow cones, have partially filled the caldera floor and produced lava flows that ponded on the floor or overflowed through gaps in the caldera rim. Post-caldera eruptions have also formed a series of scoria cones and maars along a fissure system oriented ENE-WSW. Eruptions have apparently occurred almost yearly during historical time from cones within the caldera or from flank vents. However, from 1850 to 1950, reporting was mostly limited to extra-caldera eruptions that would have affected local populations.