Manaro Sulfur dioxide plume spread 6,000 km across east coast of Australia to Tahiti

Vanuatu Geohazards Observatory (VGO) reported sustained ash and/or gas emissions from Ambae’s Lake Voui also known locally as Manaro.

No significant high-altitude ash plume accompanied the emission, though the eruption generated lightning detected by the WWLLN (World Wide Lightning Location Network).

Pictures of local areas posted on social media showed the continuing and significant ashfall on the island.

Within a few days, by 8 April, the sulfur dioxide plume had spread across an area from the east coast of Australia to Tahiti, a distance of about 6,000 km.

The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a scale of 0-5).

As reported by volcanologist Erik Klemetti, Ambae volcano has become more restless again starting mid-March 2018 and VMGD noted that these new eruptions mark a change in character for the volcano to more ash-rich, explosive eruptions versus the types that occurred in the fall of 2017.

“Ash from eruptions have fallen on residential and agricultural regions of the small island, contaminating water and potentially becoming a real hazard for the people living on the island again,” Klemetti writes.

“This makes ash a larger hazard for air travel or water supplies, but also opens the possibilities of volcanic mudflows (lahars) related to ash deposits and heavy rains,” he explains, adding that although the eruptions since mid-March haven’t made the news like the ones in the fall, they might be even more significant.

Klemetti pointed out to a tweet posted by Dr. Simon Carn, an Associate Professor at the Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences Michigan Technological University, that said the eruption on April 5 may have emitted the most sulfur dioxide of any eruption since the 2015 eruption at Calbuco in Chile.

Image by Dickenson Tevi