The Alert Level for Ambae volcano lowers to Level 3

The volcanic eruption at Ambae is continuing but remains stable and confined to Lake Voui. Further scientific analyses confirm that there is currently no evidence of escalation of the activity. As a consequence, the Volcanic Alert Level is lowered to Level 3 from Level 4. The volcanic eruption is likely to continue in a steady state. Danger is restricted to the danger zone that extends 3 km from the active vent in Lake Voui.

Observation flights on 30th of September, 1st, 3rd and 5th October 2017 confirm the activity at the volcano is only occurring in one of the summit crater lakes (Lake Voui) and is not changing. Photographs and thermal infrared images taken during observation flights show the activity consists of small explosions and ejection of hot rocks from vents on the new small island in the lake. There is also a small lava flow from the island into the lake. A small-scale eruption continues in Lake Voui at Ambae volcano.

These observations and the analysis of seismic, gas and deformation data by scientists from the Geohazards Division of the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geohazard Department (VMGD) and international scientists confirms that the volcano has settled in a more stable state of activity. The activity at Ambae is like what is seen and experienced at Yasur on Tanna Island. The local population can hear some of the explosions and see glow over the mountain at night.

The eruption at Ambae started in September, when the Volcanic Alert Level was raised to Level 3. The volcanic activity has built a volcanic cone (island) in Lake Voui. The cone building phase produced the largest explosions and ashfalls. Some parts of the island experienced ashfalls from this phase of the eruption. The eruptions in mid-September 2017 are similar to those in 2005.

The style of the eruption changed around 22 September when Geohazards staff observed lava (molten rock) at the surface for the first time. This was a significant change and raised the level of uncertainty about the development of the eruption. The volcanic Alert Level was also raised at that time to Level 4.

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.

The danger zone is now within 3 km from the vent in Lake Voui . In this area flying rock and volcanic gases may be present (See map below). Villages located further away may experience volcanic hazards from gas plumes, especially villages exposed to prevailing trade winds direction.

AMBAE VOLCANO PROFILE

15°24’0”S 167°50’0”E Summit 4908ft (1496m)
Current Vanuatu Volcano Alert Level: Level 3
Last bulletin: BULLETIN N°13 – AMBAE ACTIVITY Friday October 6th 2017
Volcano cameras and drums

AMBRYM VOLCANO PROFILE


16°15’00”S 168°07’00”E Summit Elevation 4377ft (1334m)
Current Vanuatu Volcano Alert Level: Level 3
Last bulletin: BULLETIN N°10 – AMBRYM ACTIVITY Thursday September 28th 2017
Volcano cameras and drums

LOPEVI VOLCANO PROFILE


16°30’23”S 169°20’18”E Summit 4635ft (1413m)
Current Vanuatu Volcano Alert Level: Level 2
Last bulletin: BULLETIN N°11 – LOPEVI ACTIVITY Thursday September 28th 2017
Volcano cameras and drums

LOPEVI VOLCANO PROFILE


19°32’0”S 169°26’30”E Summit 1184ft (361m)
Current Vanuatu Volcano Alert Level: Level 2
Last bulletin: BULLETIN N°9 – YASUR ACTIVITY Friday September 29th 2017
Volcano cameras and drums

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