Aoba

Photo of this volcano
Google Earth icon
Google Earth Placemark
  • Country
  • Subregion Name
  • Primary Volcano Type
  • Last Known Eruption
  • 15.4°S
  • 167.83°E

  • 1496 m
    4907 ft

  • 257030
  • Latitude
  • Longitude

  • Summit
    Elevation

  • Volcano
    Number

6 March-12 March 2013

According to observations by the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geohazards Department, a report from 6 March stated that the minor activity at Aoba that began in December 2012 was likely continuing. Satellite images acquired on 3 and 26 February detected substantial sulfur dioxide emissions. The Vanuatu Volcano Alert Level (VVAL) remained at 1 (on a scale of 0-4).

Source: Vanuatu Geohazards Observatory



 Available Weekly Reports


2013: February | March
2011: July
2010: May
2006: January | February | May
2005: November | December


6 March-12 March 2013

According to observations by the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geohazards Department, a report from 6 March stated that the minor activity at Aoba that began in December 2012 was likely continuing. Satellite images acquired on 3 and 26 February detected substantial sulfur dioxide emissions. The Vanuatu Volcano Alert Level (VVAL) remained at 1 (on a scale of 0-4).

Source: Vanuatu Geohazards Observatory


6 February-12 February 2013

According to the Vanuatu Geohazards Observatory, Ambanga villagers reported that minor activity at Aoba began in December 2012. The OMI instrument detected strong gas emissions on 18 and 25 January; the emissions continued at a lower level through 7 February. Field observations by the Geohazards team during 30 January-2 February confirmed that activity had significantly changed. Data retrieved from a monitoring station also confirmed ongoing activity. The Vanuatu Volcano Alert Level (VVAL) remained at 1 (on a scale of 0-4).

Source: Vanuatu Geohazards Observatory


20 July-26 July 2011

Based on analysis of data collected by the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geohazards Department (VMGD), the Vanuatu Geohazards Observatory reported that a small series of explosions from Aoba occurred on 10 July. Photos showed that the volcano was quiet on 12 July, although ongoing earthquakes were detected. On 18 July the Vanuatu Volcano Alert Level (VVAL) remained at 1 (on a scale of 0-4).

Source: Vanuatu Geohazards Observatory


6 July-12 July 2011

On 11 July the Vanuatu Geohazards Observatory noted that there had been recent increases in activity from Aoba and that local earthquakes were volcanic. Satellite images collected by the Ozone Monitoring Instrument showed sulfur dioxide emissions. Observations on 4 June revealed that small explosions had been occurring from the crater lake and were accompanied by local ashfall around the crater. Some villagers in the N and W parts of the island had observed the explosions. The Vanuatu Volcano Alert Level (VVAL) remained at 1 (on a scale of 0-4).

Source: Vanuatu Geohazards Observatory


5 May-11 May 2010

On 11 May the Vanuatu Geohazards Observatory noted that there had been recent increases in activity from Aoba, starting with reports that local villagers saw a plume over the island in December 2009. Fluctuating gas emissions seen in satellite imagery were also noted at that time. Satellite imagery on 11 April revealed that sulfur dioxide emissions increased to a rate of more than 3,000 tons/day. Scientists flew over Aoba and confirmed increased gas emissions. They also noted two fumarolic zones in the SE part of Lake Manaro that were surrounded by discolored water. The Vanuatu Volcano Alert Level (VVAL) remained at 1 (on a scale of 0-4).

Source: Vanuatu Geohazards Observatory


24 May-30 May 2006

According to news reports, on 28 May aerial observations by scientists from the Department of Geology and Mines revealed that Lake Voui of Aoba volcano had changed from blue to red in color. Aoba remains at an Alert level 2, which means the crater area is restricted.

Sources: Commision of Volcanic Lakes (CVL), The Age News


15 February-21 February 2006

A news article reported on 16 February that the 5,000 people who evacuated their homes after increased activity began at Aoba on 27 November 2005 returned home after Department of Geology and Mines officials reduced the threat level from 2 to 1.

Source: Radio New Zealand International News


4 January-10 January 2006

According to a news report on 4 January, all of the 3,000 people displaced by the eruption of Aoba returned home. The eruption began on 27 November 2005.

Source: Radio New Zealand International News


7 December-13 December 2005

During 6-10 December, small-scale volcanic activity that began at Aoba (also locally called Mt. Manaro) on 27 November continued from active vents within Lake Vui, the summit crater lake. Molten material entered the crater lake and reacted with water, producing small explosive eruptions and a plume of steam and gas that rose to a height of 3.9-4.5 km (12,800-14,800 ft) a.s.l. The eruption built a cone around the active vents, enclosing them on three sides and forming an island ~200 m wide and 50-60 m high in the lake. There were two active vents; one emitted water, rocks, and mud, and the other emitted steam and gas. As of 10 December, the eruption had little effect outside of the crater lake (minor ashfall occurred only during the first 3 days after the eruption). During the report period, volcanic tremor was recorded at the volcano and a moderate sulfur-dioxide flux was measured (~2,000 tons per day). There was no evidence of ground uplift or cracking near the lake, suggesting that there was no large volume of magma close to the surface.

Sources: Vanuatu Geohazards Observatory, New Zealand GeoNet Project


30 November-6 December 2005

On 27 November the Aoba volcano (also locally called Mt. Manaro) erupted on Ambae Island in Vanuatu. There have been no casualties reported, but volcanic ash has blanketed houses and food crops. There are concerns that the ash may affect the respiratory systems of local residents and contaminate water sources. The government of Vanuatu has declared the island a disaster zone, and by 6 December 5,000 residents in at least 15 communities in high-risk areas had relocated to safe areas. White steam billowing to 1,500 m above the summit and 2,000 tons of ash per day falling on the island have been reported. The level of Lake Voui, one of the lakes in the summit crater, is now only 150 m below the rim, raising the possibility of floods or lahars if large volumes of lake water are ejected. A small cone is also growing within the crater lake.

Sources: International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), Port Vila Press, Fairfax New Zealand Limited, News.com.au - News Limited


Summary of eruption dates and Volcanic Explosivity Indices (VEI).

Start Date Stop Date Eruption Certainty VEI Evidence Activity Area or Unit
2011 Jun 4 2011 Jul 10 Confirmed   Historical Observations Lake Manaro
2005 Nov 27 2006 Feb Confirmed 2 Historical Observations Lake Voui
1995 Mar 2 1995 Mar 3 (?) Confirmed 2 Historical Observations Lake Voui
[ 1915 ± 1 years ] [ Unknown ] Uncertain    
1870 (?) Unknown Confirmed 2 Historical Observations SE side Lake Manaro Lakua; Lake Voui?
1670 (?) Unknown Confirmed 2 Anthropology Lake Voui and upper west flank
1530 (?) Unknown Confirmed   Radiocarbon (uncorrected) Lakes Voui and Manaro Ngoru

The following references are the sources used for data regarding this volcano. References are linked directly to our volcano data file. Discussion of another volcano or eruption (sometimes far from the one that is the subject of the manuscript) may produce a citation that is not at all apparent from the title. Additional discussion of data sources can be found under Volcano Data Criteria.

Bani P, Oppenheimer C, Varekamp J C, Quinou T, Lardy M, Carn S, 2009. Remarkable geochemical changes and degassing at Voui crater lake, Ambae volcano, Vanuatu. J Volc Geotherm Res, 188: 347-357.

Cronin S J, Gaylord D R, Charley D, Alloway B V, Wallez S, Esau J W, 2004. Participatory methods of incorporating scientific with traditional knowledge for volcanic hazard management on Ambae Island, Vanuatu. Bull Volc, 66: 652-668.

Fisher N H, 1957. Melanesia. Catalog of Active Volcanoes of the World and Solfatara Fields, Rome: IAVCEI, 5: 1-105.

Macfarlane A, Carney J N, Crawford A J, Greene H G, 1988. Vanuatu--A review of the onshore geology. In: Greene H G and Wong F L (eds) {Geology and Offshore Resources of Pacific Island Arcs--Vanuatu Region}, Circum-Pacific Council Energy Min Resour Earth Sci Ser, 8: 45-91.

Nemeth K, Cronin S J, Charley D, Harrison M, Garae E, 2006. Exploding lakes in Vanuatu -- "Surtseyan-style" eruptions witnessed on Ambae Island. Episodes, 29: 87-92.

New Hebrides Geological Survey, 1979. Geology of Aoba and Maewo. New Hebrides Geol Surv, 1:100,000 geol map sheet 5.

Robin C, Monzier M, Crawford A J, Eggins S M, 1993. The geology, volcanology, petrology-geochemistry, and tectonic evolution of the New Hebrides island arc, Vanuatu. IAVCEI Canberra 1993 excursion guide, Aust Geol Surv Org, Rec 1993/59, 86 p.

Smithsonian Institution-GVN, 1990-. [Monthly event reports]. Bull Global Volc Network, v 15-33.

Warden A J, 1970. Evolution of Aoba Caldera volcano, New Hebrides. Bull Volc, 34: 107-140.

Aoba, also known as Ambae, is a massive 2500 cu km basaltic shield volcano that is the most voluminous volcano of the New Hebrides archipelago. A pronounced NE-SW-trending rift zone dotted with scoria cones gives the 16 x 38 km island an elongated form. A broad pyroclastic cone containing three crater lakes is located at the summit of the Hawaiian-style shield volcano within the youngest of at least two nested calderas, the largest of which is 6 km in diameter. Post-caldera explosive eruptions formed the summit craters of Lake Voui (also spelled Vui) and Lake Manaro Ngoru about 360 years ago. A tuff cone was constructed within Lake Voui about 60 years later. The latest known flank eruption, about 300 years ago, destroyed the population of the Nduindui area near the western coast.