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 used to contain vigorous lava lakes before the eruption of 2018.

Extreme Pursuit has made many 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:


Ambrym’s Latest Status

2024: Alert Level 2 – Major Unrest


Ambrym’s Eruptive History

January 2024 Ambrym has erupted and lava has reached the surface. The eruption is confined to Benbow’s crater only.
December 2023 Extreme Pursuit Expedition observed the new cone and lava flows within the Benbow crater. The intra-cone ash plateau has been severely eroded and will likely collapse entirely. Fumarolic activity still persistent. All cones are now green with plant life.
April 2022 Lava is back! Benbow continued to glow bright throughout the night with vigorous degassing. Lava flows confirmed within the crater. MODIS data logged the first thermal anomaly @ 219 MW (High), but is confined to Benbow’s crater only.
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.


Ambrym Monitoring

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


Ambrym Images