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Alert for Gaua volcano, Vanuatu 2 October 2009

Posted by admin in activity reports, Gaua, Pacific, Vanuatu.
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The authorities in the Pacific republic of Vanuatu have issued an alert (at the lowest level of one, on a scale of 1-5) for Gaua volcano, which is situated on Gaua Island, also known as Santa Maria Island, in the northern part of the archipelago. About 2000 people live on the island. The volcano has been showing signs of activity for the last two weeks, with accounts of repeated explosions and ash and gas emission. Local inhabitants have reported ‘large quantities of smoke’ being produced by the volcano, ‘a strong smell of sulphur’, and some contamination of local water and food supplies. The Vanuatu Department of Geology Mines and Water Resources will be sending a geohazard team to Gaua over the weekend.

The island of Gaua/Santa Maria is a stratovolcano topped by a 6 x 9 km, 700 m deep caldera. Most of the caldera is occupied by a crescent-shaped lake, with the 797 m cone of Mount Garat (or Gharat) rising in the south-west. Garat has been the site of all recent eruptive activity at Gaua since the volcano awoke from dormancy in 1962.

News
Vanuatu warns about Gaua volcano – Radio New Zealand, 1 October 2009
Vanuatu volcano alert – Radio Australia, 2 October 2009
Vanuatu volcano alert – Radio Australia News, 2 October 2009

Information
Global Volcanism Program: Gaua – summary information for Gaua (0507-02=)
Vanuatu volcanoes and volcanics – information from the USGS Cascades Volcano Observatory

The Volcanism Blog