Vanuatu Volcano Alert Bulletin n°2 - Ambae Activity (18 March 2018)


15°24’0”S 167°50’0”E Summit 4908ft (1496m)
Current Vanuatu Volcano Alert Level: Level 3

Ambae volcano is in the minor eruption state; Its Alert Level is raised from Level 2 to Level 3

The volcanic eruption at Ambae confined inside the Lake Voui is stable at Alert Level 3. Scientific analyses confirm that the current activity is similar to the volcanic activity at the end of October 2017 but with more and sustained emissions of volcanic ashes. The possibility of imminent increasing activity is very low. The restricted area of risk is now limited to the area of 3 km from the active vent.

Observations of February and March 2018 confirm that the activity is continuing from the recent edified volcanic cone (island). Style of Ambae volcano activity is explosive, similar to what is seen and experienced at Yasur on Tanna Island. Explosions are accompanied by volcanic ashes and/or gases cloud. With the current size of the volcanic cone in Lake Voui, people from Ambae may hear explosions, view a minor volcanic ash and/or gas plume and glows over the mountain at night.

These observations and the analysis of seismic data confirms that the volcano activity is in the level of minor eruption state. The volcano activity consist of ongoing emission of ashes, gases and volcanic bombs that may fall around the volcano vents.

Based on its slight decreased seismic activity and observation of ongoing volcanic gas emission and steam plumes on the web camera, the Volcanic Alert Level (VAL) at Ambae was dropped to Level 2 on 7th December 2017. The current activity shows ongoing ashes and gases emission causing more impact to villages. This is consistent with the Alert Level 3 activity. Level 3 indicates _‘Minor eruption; Danger is now at 3 km around the volcanic vent and areas that exposed to the wind direction’ _. **The possibility that the Ambae volcano activity escalate to the level of moderate eruption is very low **.

Ambae volcano is a very large volcano and is frequently active. In the recorded history, there have been many eruptions, every 10-50 years over the past 150 years. All have been from the summit craters, except one recorded in 1670’s when a lava flow occurred in the Ndui Ndui area. The current eruption is focused in the summit crater and there are no indications of activity elsewhere on Ambae Island.

Advise to all tourism agencies, local authorities, people of Ambae and the general public **not to access the Danger Zone which is now about 3 km radius from the eruptive vents. Volcanic gases, ashes and projectiles are expected in this area **(See map below). **Villages from Ambae island may experience volcanic hazards from gas and ashes especially those exposed to prevailing trade winds direction **. _(Please see Ash fall key messages at this link : ) _.

The Vanuatu Meteorology and Geohazards Department will continue to closely monitor this volcano activity. More information will be provided as available.

For further information, please contact Geohazards Division at the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geohazards Department at or 24686.