Vanuatu

Vanuatu Volcano Alert Bulletin n°7 - Lopevi Activity (September 24th 2020)

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LOPEVI VOLCANO

16°30’23”S 169°20’18”E Summit 4635ft (1413m)

Current Vanuatu Volcano Alert Level: Level 2

Lopevi volcano is continuing in the major unrest state. The Volcanic Alert Level remains at Level 2.

Lopevi volcano activity is continuing to be unstable in the level of major unrest. With the current state, the volcanic activity is likely to increase at any time but it could also remain at the same level for a longtime. Volcanic hazards remain on the island of Lopevi due to the current ongoing volcanic activity. The danger zone for life safety is limited to on the island of Lopevi.

Latest observations and daily analysis of the Lopevi seismic data from the volcano monitoring system confirm that Lopevi volcanic activity conditions remains unstable and its activity is currently continuing in the high level of unrest. The activity continues to occur in the active craters near the summit crater. The volcano activity consists of continuous emission of steam plume.

In the past, small or short-lived eruptions have followed volcanic unrest at Lopevi. The chance for an eruptive phase to follow the current volcanic unrest, like in January 2017, is likely.

The Lopevi Volcanic Alert Level (VAL) has been at Level 2 since 23 September 2017. The current observations are consistent with the activity of the Volcanic Alert Level 2. Level 2 indicates ‘Major level of unrest; Danger zone is on the island of Lopevi’. With this current volcanic activity, it is a useful reminder that eruptions can occur with little or no warning.

Lopevi is one of several frequently active volcanoes in Vanuatu. Ash producing eruptions can occur every 3-10 years. The volcano has been active during historical time at both summit and flank vents, producing moderate explosive eruptions and lava flows that reached the coast. Historical eruptions date back to the mid-19th century. The island was evacuated following major eruptions in 1939 and 1960. Only a family tries to live on the island these days.

This is a reminder that all visitors to Lopevi may be affected by the volcanic unrest. It’s very important that authorities, communities, villages from the islands of Paama and Epi take this information into consideration.

The Vanuatu Meteorology and Geohazards Department will continue to closely monitor this volcanic activity. More information will be provided when necessary.

For further information, please contact Geohazards Division at the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geohazards Department at geohazards@meteo.gov.vu or 24686.