Ambrym

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  • Vanuatu
  • Vanuatu
  • Pyroclastic shield
  • 2013 CE
  • Country
  • Subregion Name
  • Primary Volcano Type
  • Last Known Eruption
  • 16.25°S
  • 168.12°E

  • 1334 m
    4376 ft

  • 257040
  • Latitude
  • Longitude

  • Summit
    Elevation

  • Volcano
    Number

14 August-20 August 2013

According to NASA's Earth Observatory, a satellite image acquired on 9 August showed steam-and-gas plumes rising from Ambrym’s Benbow cone and from the active lava lake in Mbwelesu Crater (one of three active sub-craters of the Marun cone).

Source: NASA Earth Observatory



 Available Weekly Reports


2013: June | July | August
2011: June | July
2010: March | August
2009: March | December
2007: March | April | May
2004: March


14 August-20 August 2013

According to NASA's Earth Observatory, a satellite image acquired on 9 August showed steam-and-gas plumes rising from Ambrym’s Benbow cone and from the active lava lake in Mbwelesu Crater (one of three active sub-craters of the Marun cone).

Source: NASA Earth Observatory


24 July-30 July 2013

The Vanuatu Geohazards Observatory reported that activity at Ambrym slightly increased to a minor eruptive phase, and a seismic swarm was detected between 2400 and 0700 on 26 July. The Alert Level remained at 1 (on a scale of 0-4).

Source: Vanuatu Geohazards Observatory


19 June-25 June 2013

On 21 June the Vanuatu Geohazards Observatory reported that satellite images on 2, 4, 11, 14, and 16 June detected gas emissions from Ambrym. Emissions of minor amounts of ash and substantial amounts of gas from the active vents had been detected during the previous week. The report warned that communities on the island, especially those downwind of Ambrym, may experience ashfall and acid rain that could damage to the environment and contaminate water. The Alert Level remained at 1 (on a scale of 0-4).

Source: Vanuatu Geohazards Observatory


20 July-26 July 2011

Based on pilot observations and analyses of satellite imagery, the Wellington VAAC reported that on 19 July an ash plume from Ambrym rose to an altitude of 3 km (10,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted 185 km NW.

Source: Wellington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC)


22 June-28 June 2011

On 27 June, the Vanuatu Geohazards Observatory reported that data collected from Ambrym's monitoring network showed significant degassing daily and occasional explosions in the crater. Field observers noted that the level of the lava lakes was high. During June, villages reported minor ashfall and that acid rain affected vegetables in some areas W, S, and E. The Alert Level remained at 1 (on a scale of 0-4).

Source: Vanuatu Geohazards Observatory


18 August-24 August 2010

Based on pilot observations, analyses of satellite imagery, and information from the Vanuatu Geohazards Observatory, the Wellington VAAC reported that on 8 and 10 August ash-and-steam plumes from Ambrym rose to an altitude 6.1 km (20,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted W and NW.

Source: Wellington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC)


3 March-9 March 2010

Based on pilot observations and analyses of satellite imagery, the Wellington VAAC reported that ash plumes from Ambrym rose to an altitude of 2.4 km (8,000 ft) a.s.l. on 5 March.

Source: Wellington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC)


2 December-8 December 2009

On 3 December, a diffuse plume from Ambrym, likely largely composed of sulfur dioxide, was visible on satellite imagery acquired by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) and posted on NASA's Earth Observatory website.

Source: NASA Earth Observatory


25 March-31 March 2009

Based on information from the Port Vila airport tower, the Wellington VAAC reported that on 25 March an ash plume from Ambrym rose to an altitude of 2.1 km (7,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted about 55 km S. The next day, a pilot reported that "smoke" rose to an altitude of 2.4 km (8,000 ft) a.s.l. Ash was not identified on satellite imagery.

Source: Wellington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC)


2 May-8 May 2007

The Wellington VAAC reported that a pilot observed an ash plume from Ambrym on 3 May. The plume rose to an altitude of 1.8 km (6,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted SE. Ash was visible on satellite imagery.

Source: Wellington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC)


25 April-1 May 2007

The Wellington VAAC reported that an ash plume from Ambrym was visible on satellite imagery on 1 May. The altitude and direction of the plume were not reported.

Source: Wellington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC)


28 March-3 April 2007

The Wellington VAAC reported that on 3 April pilots observed lava and ash emissions from Ambrym. Ash plumes rose to altitudes below 2.4 km (8,000 ft) a.s.l.

Source: Wellington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC)


31 March-6 April 2004

According to a report from John Seach, during March an active lava lake was present in Ambrym's Mbwelesu crater.

Source: Volcano Live


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

Start Date Stop Date Eruption Certainty VEI Evidence Activity Area or Unit
2008 May 23 2013 Aug 5 Confirmed 2 Historical Observations Benbow and Marum
2006 Nov 8 2007 Dec 27 (in or after) Confirmed 2 Historical Observations Marum (Mbwelesu)
1996 Jun (in or before) 2005 Aug (in or after) Confirmed 1 Historical Observations Benbow, Marum, Niri Mbelesu, Mbwelesu
1994 Dec (in or before) Unknown Confirmed 1 Historical Observations Benbow and Marum
1990 Sep (in or before) 1991 Jul (in or after) Confirmed 2 Historical Observations Mbwelesu, Niri Mbwelesu, Niri Taten
1989 Apr 24 1989 Dec 23 Confirmed 2 Historical Observations Marum, Benbow, Niri Mbwelesu Taten
1988 Feb 12 (?) 1988 Aug 23 Confirmed 3 Historical Observations Benbow, Mbwelesu, Marum, Niri Taten
1986 Nov 13 1986 Nov 19 (?) Confirmed 2 Historical Observations New cone 3 km east of Marum
1984 1986 Mar 8 (in or after) Confirmed 2 Historical Observations
1983 Unknown Confirmed 2 Historical Observations Marum
1981 Feb 20 1981 Sep 30 Confirmed 2 Historical Observations Benbow, Marum
1980 May 16 1980 Aug 18 Confirmed 3 Historical Observations Marum
1979 Jun 6 1979 Sep (?) Confirmed 2 Historical Observations Benbow, Marum
1979 Jan 26 ± 5 days 1979 Feb 18 (?) Confirmed 2 Historical Observations Benbow
1977 Aug 1977 Sep 30 Confirmed 2 Historical Observations
1977 Jan 20 ± 5 days 1977 Jan 28 (?) Confirmed 2 Historical Observations
1973 Apr 15 ± 5 days 1976 Oct 14 Confirmed 3 Historical Observations Benbow, Mbuelesu, Marum
1972 Apr 15 1972 Aug 15 Confirmed 3 Historical Observations Benbow, Marum
1971 Feb 3 1971 Nov 5 Confirmed 2 Historical Observations Marum, Benbow
1967 Jul 1970 Aug 29 Confirmed 2 Historical Observations Marum, Benbow, Mbuelesu
1964 Feb (?) 1966 Sep (in or after) Confirmed 2 Historical Observations Marum, Benbow
1963 Aug 30 1963 Sep 23 (in or after) Confirmed 2 Historical Observations Benbow, Marum
1961 Aug 15 1963 Apr 3 Confirmed 3 Historical Observations Benbow, Marum, south of Marum
1960 Sep 17 Unknown Confirmed 1 Historical Observations Mbuelesu, Benbow, near Marum
1959 Apr Unknown Confirmed 2 Historical Observations Marum
1958 Nov 18 Unknown Confirmed 2 Historical Observations Benbow and Marum
1957 Aug 26 ± 5 days 1957 Oct Confirmed 1 Historical Observations Benbow, Marum
1955 Unknown Confirmed 2 Historical Observations Benbow
1954 Unknown Confirmed 2 Historical Observations Benbow
1953 May 1953 Oct 13 (?) Confirmed 2 Historical Observations Benbow, Mbuelesu, S flank of Benbow
1952 Aug 10 1952 Dec 26 ± 5 days Confirmed 2 Historical Observations Benbow
1950 Dec 6 1951 Nov 25 ± 5 days Confirmed 4 Historical Observations Benbow
1942 Jun 6 Unknown Confirmed 2 Historical Observations NW flank of Benbow
1938 Unknown Confirmed 2 Historical Observations Benbow, Marum ?
1937 Mar 27 1937 Apr Confirmed 2 Historical Observations Benbow and west flank
1935 Sep 1936 Jan Confirmed 2 Historical Observations Benbow
1929 Jun 28 1929 Jul 1 Confirmed 2 Historical Observations Benbow, west flank, Marum
1915 Oct 20 Unknown Confirmed 2 Historical Observations Marum, crater at SE point
1913 Oct 14 1914 Confirmed 3 Historical Observations Benbow, west flank, Marum
1912 Unknown Confirmed   Historical Observations Marum ?, west flank ?
1910 Unknown Confirmed 0 Historical Observations Base of Marum
1909 Jul 28 (?) Unknown Confirmed 2 Historical Observations
1908 Unknown Confirmed 2 Historical Observations
1898 Mar 26 Unknown Confirmed 1 Historical Observations
1894 Oct 15 1895 Feb 10 (in or after) Confirmed 3 Historical Observations Benbow and west flank
1888 Feb 24 ± 4 days 1888 Apr (?) Confirmed 2 Historical Observations SE flank (6 km from SE Point), Marum
1886 Jul Unknown Confirmed 2 Historical Observations
1884 Unknown Confirmed 2 Historical Observations Marum and/or Benbow
1883 Unknown Confirmed 2 Historical Observations Marum
1871 Unknown Confirmed 2 Historical Observations
[ 1870 ] [ Unknown ] Uncertain    
1863 1864 Confirmed 2 Historical Observations
1820 (?) Unknown Confirmed   Historical Observations West flank
1774 Unknown Confirmed 2 Historical Observations
0050 ± 100 years Unknown Confirmed 6 Radiocarbon (uncorrected)

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, Tsanev V I, Carn S A, Cronin S J, Crimp R, Calkins J A, Charley D, Lardy M, Roberts T R, 2009. Surge in sulphur and halogen degassing from Ambrym volcano, Vanuatu. Bull Volc, 71: 1159-1168.

Carniel R, Di Cecca M, Rouland D, 2003. Ambrym, Vanuatu (July-August 2000): spectral and dynamical transitions on the hours-to-days timescale. J Volc Geotherm Res, 128: 1-13.

Eissen J-P, Blot C, Louat R, 1991. Chronologie de l'activite volcanique historique de l'arc insulaire des Nouvelles-Hebrides de 1595 a 1991. ORSTOM Rapports Sci Tech Sci Terre Geol-Geophys, 2: 1-69.

Eissen J-P, Monzier M, Robin C, Picard C, Douglas C, 1990. Report on the volcanological field work on Ambrym and Tanna Islands (Vanuatu) from 2 to 25 September 1990. Orstom (Noumea) Rapport Missions Sci Terre Geol-Geophys, 22: 1-22.

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

Green J, Short N M, 1971. Volcanic Landforms and Surface Features: a Photographic Atlas and Glossary. New York: Springer-Verlag, 519 p.

Gregory J W, 1917. The Ambrym eruptions of 1913-14. Geol Mag, 4: 529-540.

McCall G J H, LeMaitre R W, Malahoff A, Robinson G P, Stephenson P J, 1970. The geology and geophysics of the Ambrym Caldera, New Hebrides. Bull Volc, 34: 681-696.

Monzier M, Danyushevsky L V, Crawford A J, Bellon H, Cotton J, 1993. High-Mg andesites from the southern termination of the New Hebrides island arc (SW Pacific). J Volc Geotherm Res, 57: 193-217.

New Hebrides Geological Survey, 1976. Geology of Pentecost and Ambrym. New Hebrides Geol Surv, 1:100,000 geol map sheet 6.

Robin C, Eissen J-P, Monzier M, 1993. Giant tuff cone and 12-km-wide associated caldera at Ambrym volcano (Vanuatu, New Hebrides arc). J Volc Geotherm Res, 55: 225-238.

Smithsonian Institution-SEAN, 1975-89. [Monthly event reports]. Bull Scientific Event Alert Network (SEAN), v 1-14.

Stephenson P J, McCall G J H, LeMaitre R W, Robinson G P, 1968. The Ambrym Island Research Project. New Hebrides Geol Surv Ann Rpt 1966, p 9-15.

Ambrym, a large basaltic volcano with a 12-km-wide caldera, is one of the most active volcanoes of the New Hebrides arc. A thick, almost exclusively pyroclastic sequence, initially dacitic, then basaltic, overlies lava flows of a pre-caldera shield volcano. The caldera was formed during a major plinian eruption with dacitic pyroclastic flows about 1900 years ago. Post-caldera eruptions, primarily from Marum and Benbow cones, have partially filled the caldera floor and produced lava flows that ponded on the caldera floor or overflowed through gaps in the caldera rim. Post-caldera eruptions have also formed a series of scoria cones and maars along a fissure system oriented ENE-WSW. Eruptions have apparently occurred almost yearly during historical time from cones within the caldera or from flank vents. However, from 1850 to 1950, reporting was mostly limited to extra-caldera eruptions that would have affected local populations.