Aoba (Ambae) Volcano Eruption, Vanuatu

Start Date

April 17, 2018


Terra/MODIS satellite image of the Aoba (Ambae) volcano eruption.

Terra / MODIS satellite image of the Aoba (Ambae) volcano eruption.

Activity for Aoba (Ambae) volcano has increased in recent months and is now in a minor eruption state.  The volcanic alert level remains at level 3.  A restricted area of risk which is 3km around the active vent has been established as the volcano began to become more active in March and early April 2018.  At that time the volcano began to emit more and sustained volcanic ash or/ and gases.  These new eruptions mark a change in character for the volcano to more ash-rich explosive eruptions.  The current eruption is focused on the summit crater and there are no indications of activity elsewhere on Ambae Island. Vanuatu’s Council of Ministers has declared a state of emergency on Ambae due to the heavy ash fall which has contaminated water and food supplies for the island’s nearly 11,000 inhabitants, who are in the process of being evacuated from the island.


Latest Updates

May 2, 2018
Ash Deposition on Ambae Island from March-April 2018 Aoba eruptions
Multiple eruptions from the locally named “Manaro” volcano on the Ambae (Aoba) Island in Vanuatu have led the evacuations of thousands of people affected by the disposition of thick volcanic ash layers on the Ground leading to widespread destructions of Farm lands. Satellite imageries from ESA/Sentinel 2B using wavelength bands sensitive to monitor crops show the extension of the devastation since March, 10th. The quasi-continous eruptions (see ash plume, image on March, 15th) have led to...
April 24, 2018
Brightness Temperature Difference-based detection of sulfur dioxide (SO2).  The larger (absolute value) differences suggest larger quantities of SO2.
Examples of Ambae data products from the AIRS Rapid Response Website at JPL.  This site, currently under development, contains data products generated automatically for AIRS granules, or scenes.   The AIRS Rapid Response products may be used to track the dispersion of SO2 (Image 1) and ash clouds (Image 2) following an explosive volcanic eruption. The cloud cover product (Image 3) is an aid to interpreting the SO2 and ash detection products. The cloud cover was dense, with a tropical cyclone developing off the coast of Australia. The apparent lack of ash, relative to the presence...
April 20, 2018
Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) on EOS Aura satellite measures ~0.12 Tg  SO2 emission from Aoba (Vanuatu) volcanic eruption
This volcanic SO2 plume data from the Aoba volcano (Vanuatu) explosive eruption on April 5 2018 was retrieved using the Ozone monitoring Instrument (OMI) operational Principal Component Analysis (PCA) algorithm (OMSO2) on April 6. Volcanic SO2 measured by satellite UV sensors allows tracking fast movements of volcanic ash clouds , which present hazard to aviation. In large explosive eruptions volcanic SO2 can be injected directly into lower stratosphere where it...