Ambrym volcano to level two

THE volcanic activity at Ambrym’s twin volcanoes is stable and its Volcanic Alert Level has also been lowered to Level two.

The Vanuatu Meteorogical and Geohazards Department(VMGD) said that the danger is restricted to visitors around any of the active craters; Risk is in the Permanent Exclusion Zone at Benbow and Danger Zone A at Marum which is about 1 km radius from Benbow and about 2.7 km radius from Marum (including Maben-Mbwelesu, Niri-Mbwelesu and Mbwelesu.

They said observation photos at the end November 2017 confirm the activity at the volcano had become stable.

Photos showed the activity consisted of ongoing volcanic gas and steam emissions.

These observations and the analysis of seismic data confirmed that the volcano activity has dropped to the major unrest state.

They said lava lakes in the eruptive vents induced ongoing degassing. The local population and visitors can smell the volcanic gas while approaching the volcanic area.

Alert Level for Ambrym volcano was at the Level two since March 2 2015.

Based on its increased seismic activity and observation of ongoing significant volcanic gas and steam plumes on the web camera( from August 2017, the Volcanic Alert Level (VAL) was raised to Level three.

The current observations are consistent with the Alert Level two activity. Level two indicates ‘Major Unrest’; Danger is around the crater rim and specific area, considerable possibility of eruption and also chance of flank eruption.

Ambrym volcanoes are a very active volcano in Vanuatu with large calderas of 12 km diameter and two active craters lakes with Marum and Benbow.

The volcano has been active during historical time at both summit and flank vents, producing moderate explosive eruptions and lava flows that reached coast.

Historical eruptions dated back to two century with eight important eruptions with lava flows extra-caldera having caused destruction in coastal areas in 1820, 1894, 1913 or 1929.

Over seventy years, there are no extra-caldera eruptions.

Advice to all tourism agencies, local autorities, people of Ambrym and the general public not to access the Permanent Exclusion Zone which about 1 km radius from Benbow and Danger Zone A about 2.7 km from Marum. In these areas volcanic gases may be present occasionnally.

See the safety map and visitors Fact-Sheet of Ambrym volcano at the website

Villages located further away may experience volcanic hazards from gas plumes, especially villages exposed to prevailing trade winds direction.

The Vanuatu Meteorology and Geohazards Department will continue to closely monitor this volcano activity and more information will be provided accordingly as soon as necessary.