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News & activity updates from Aoba (Ambae) volcano

Manaro Voui (Ambae) volcano (Vanuatu) - alert level raised, moderate eruption

Saturday Sep 23, 2017 08:14 AM | VON: T

Ambae volcano in Vanuatu on 23 Sep 2017 morning. (photo: Vanuatu Geohazards Department webcam)
Ambae volcano in Vanuatu on 23 Sep 2017 morning. (photo: Vanuatu Geohazards Department webcam)
Hazard map of Ambae volcano (Geohazards)
The volcanic alert level for Manaro Voui volcano on Ambae island was raised to the second highest (4: "moderate eruption") on Vanuatu's scale of 1-5 this Saturday, as the activity intensified gradually over the past weeks.
A vent in or near the caldera lake Voui has been producing mild ash emissions over the past weeks, but these have now become stronger and for the first time lava glow also was observed, suggesting that the eruption is transitioning from phreatic (steam-driven) to magmatic (arrival of fresh magma).
According to local press articles, authorities in Vanuatu are preparing to evacuate up to 5000 people from the island's most exposed areas to safer locations.
"In the early hours, around 3-4am, we noticed that the activity started to increase, followed by another eruptive phase," Ms Esline Garaeviti, the manager of the Geohazards Department, was quoted on Radio New Zealand. "So the ash plume from Ambae is still there now. The ash fall is expected all around the island."
"The increased level of activity means increased area of risk," she said. "There's more risk exposed to people on the island, that's why. It's a moderate state of activity."
The current state of the eruption was only moderate with explosions at the crater generating small ash plumes, but it could become larger and directly threaten people living in areas closest to the volcano, in particular those north and south of the summit and areas near or in valleys draining from the caldera lake. Safer locations would include eastern and western parts of Ambae.

The last significant activity of Ambae was in 2005, when a similar evacuation was done and forced people to leave their villages for 3 months.
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Satellite image of Aoba volcano on 22 Sep 2017
Friday, Sep 22, 2017
Volcanic Ash Advisory Center Wellington (VAAC) issued the following report: ... [mehr]
Aoba volcano Aqua satellite image from today showing what is perhaps a steam plume stretching west
Sunday, Aug 14, 2016
Wellington VAAC received a pilot report of plumes of white steam and ash rising 1000 ft (300 m) above the active crater lake Voui this morning. This could suggest that perhaps some phreatic explosions have taken place, but it is far from certain whether the volcano (with almost no monitoring on ground) is about to erupt or not. ... [mehr]
Friday, Feb 08, 2013
Vanuatu's Geohazards agency indicated that minor phreatic activity has been occurring at Lombenben volcano on Aoba (Ambae) island. ... [mehr]
Wednesday, Dec 26, 2012
A SO2 plume from Aoba (Ambae) volcano on Vanuatu was reported visible on satellite images on 24 Dec according to John Seach. No thermal hot spot is currently visible from the volcano. This suggests that the volcano is strongly degassing, but not erupting at the moment. [mehr]
Friday, Dec 23, 2005

Eruptive activity at Manaro volcano continues, but has decreased significantly over the past week. Scientists are monitoring the eruption, hoping that it will soon be possible to lower the alert level and permit some 3000 residents that had been evacuated to return to their homes.


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