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Gaua (aka Santa Maria):
the threat of a million cubic meters of water

Recent history of high activity  |  Lake water temperature: 50°C    
A volcanic hazard for the island and its neighbours

The island was named Santa Maria by the Portuguese navigator Pedro Fernandez de Quiros, who was exploring the region for the benefit of the King of Spain. Having discovered the volcanic island of Mere Lava, he sailed by Gaua (Santa Maria), and reached the northern end of Espiritu Santo on May 3, 1606. He thought he had found the mythical Great Southern Continent every explorer was searching for.
Gaua is located north-east of Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu's largest island, and is a part of the Banks island group. Its volcano represents the greatest volcanic threat to this region. Roughly circular in shape, about 20 km in diameter, it culminates at Mount Garet (just under 800m elevation) . The entire structure rises 2000m from the ocean floor. Garet is a basaltic strato-volcano occupying an ancient caldera. The population lives only along the coastal fringe, where it tends food gardens and coconut plantations.

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