Ambrym (Marum and Benbow Volcanoes)

 

Ambrym is one of the most active volcanoes in the world. It is a shield volcano within a wide caldera that formed in 50 AD. Ambrym is home to two active cones Marum and Benbow, both of which contain vigorous lava lakes.

Extreme Pursuit has made six visits to Ambrym, descending to the summit craters of both Marum and Benbow.

Location: Ambrym Island, Malampa Province, Vanuatu
Coordinates: -16.246825, 168.131693
Volcano Type: Pyroclastic shield

Ambrym's location:

 

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Ambrym (Marum and Benbow Volcanoes) Volcano News:

Ambrym Island’s famed lava lakes lost

The volcanic island of Ambrym, Vanuatu is certainly a wonder of the world. There isn’t another place like it anywhere on our planet. Two imposing cones rise from the desert-like caldera, both churning with molten rock. 

I have made descents within both Marum and Benbow’s cones on multiple expeditions. Anyone venturing this close to the blazing lava has felt a blazing sense of mother nature’s disinterest in us. But then it all changed…

Unprecedented geological events unfolded in December 2018 which ultimately brought about the destruction of the famed lava lakes. Continue reading...

 

 


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Ambrym's Eruptive History

April 2019 Extreme Pursuit observed all craters and found no lava present in any. Benbow was particularly noisy with thunderous and vigorous fumarole activity. The craters are hardly recognisable, with the greatest changes observed in Benbow. The tephra wall has collapsed entirely.
December 2018 Marum lava lake at highest level in perhaps 30 years. Unprecedented geological events followed which ultimately brought about the destruction of the famed lava lakes. An intra-caldera fissure eruption occurred (near the Lewolembwi Crater), lasting approximately four hours. Large fault line cracks opened in Paamal Village (eastern side of Ambrym).
October 2018 Niri Mbwelesu has now transitioned into its own lava lake (from the strombolian activity we observed in January). Benbow’s lake remains low, however lava pulses are incredibly strong. A local guide commented they are largest he’s ever seen (200+ times to Benbow).
May 2018 Marum’s lava lake has again risen and is now a single, large lake.
March 2018 Multiple vents and minor ash plume observed in Niri Mbwelesu’s crater. Marum’s lava lake has dropped. Multiple vents now present.
Feb 2015 Eruption from a new vent within the caldera. Multiple fissures and fire fountaining observed. First major lava flow in 25 years.

 

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Images of Ambrym

 

For monitoring, please refer to Vanuatu Meteorology and Geohazards Department.