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Continuing Gaua activity at the NASA Earth Observatory 27 April 2010

Posted by admin in activity reports, eruptions, Gaua, NASA Earth Observatory, Pacific, Vanuatu, volcanoes.
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Eruption of Gaua Volcano, 24 April 2010 (NASA ALI/EO-1 image)

As reported here last week, activity is continuing at Gaua volcano in Vanuatu, with the government planning for evacuations of Gaua Island. The NASA Earth Observatory has been providing some excellent satellite imagery of Gaua, most recently the above image, captured on 24 April 2010 by the Advanced Land Imager aboard NASA’s Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite. The brown areas on the left of the image, to the west and south-west of the volcano, show where volcanic emissions and ashfall have damaged and killed vegetation.

The world is paying little attention to the activity at Gaua, but it is shaping up to be a very nasty, hazardous and disruptive eruption. Ashfall, poisonous gases, volcanic bombs and mudflows are being produced by the active cone, Mount Garet, and emissions are tainting local crops and water supplies. Rising water levels in the crater have been reported, increasing the risk of still more dangerous mudflows. The population of Gaua has already had to abandon the western side of the island and seek refuge in the east, away from the worst of the volcano’s ash and fumes, but as the activity increases they may have to evacuate completely. Radio Australia News quotes Vanuatu Geohazards Technical Advisor: ‘The current risk is mainly ash falls and then mudflows. It’s true that we have an increase in activity but not like a level 3. Evacuation is ready the plan is ready the location is ready, it’s a very tough situation for the local population of Gaua, they’re scared they’re afraid, it’s a very new situation for them’.

The alert level for Gaua is still at level 2, according to the Vanuatu Geohazards Observatory.

For all our coverage of Gaua: Gaua « The Volcanism Blog.

Vanuatu volcano may force evacuationsSydney Morning Herald, 20 April 2010
Vanuatu volcano taints water suppliesSydney Morning Herald, 21 April 2010
Vanuatu authorities monitor Gaua volcano – Radio Australia News, 23 April 2010
South Seas volcano threatens thousands – Earthweek, 23 April 2010

Global Volcanism Program: Gaua – summary information for Gaua (0507-02=)
Vanuatu volcanoes and volcanics – information from the USGS Cascades Volcano Observatory
Vanuatu Geohazards Observatory – home page for geohazards monitoring in Vanuatu

The Volcanism Blog


1. bruce stout - 27 April 2010

well done, Dr. H! I must praise your research skills. I was hunting for news on Gaua this morning and couldn’t find anything apart from the SO2 readings on MODIS which showed there had obviously been activity.
I hope the Vanuatu Geohazards Observatory realize there is in fact international interest in this and keep us updated. (Though I do appreciate that they might have their hands full just keeping tabs of what is happening on the ground.)

2. Mike - 28 May 2010

Have any of you noticed the latest earthquakes on Vanatu today? I would like to see some recent photos of the volcano now.

3. Whaat? - 29 May 2010

Sorry, Mike, check in next month, or so.

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