Tanna | Ambae | Karua | Ambrym | Lopevi | Gaua
Lopevi: attempts at settlement
Attempts at settlement | Occasional
A potential threat for nearby islands
Occasional violent eruptions
When James Cook sailed past Lopevi in 1774, he
observed a pyramid-shaped mountain, with no sign of activity. Since
1863, major eruptive activity has been recorded and appears to follow
cycle of about 20 years (1863, 1892, 1908, 1922, 1939, 1960,
...). The extremely violent eruption of July 10, 1960 began with
Plinian-type activity on the north-western slope in the form of
an ash plume rising 10,000 m, visible from Port Vila 150 km away.
A variety of events followed: pyroclastic flows, Hawaiian-type emissions,
and within barely a month, Strombolian, Vulcanian and fumarole activity.
Over the following few months, large lava and ash flows covered
nearly 1000 hectares of land in the north-western district, the
only part of the island affected throughout the event.
On July 7, 1963, a new eruption began with an explosion within the
main crater, followed a few weeks later by a renewal of activity
in the secondary craters left over from the 1960 eruption, at about
900m elevation, where intense Strombolian activity was observed
(lava, gas, explosions, ...). From 1963 to1982, there was a succession
of events: ash projections, plumes, lava fountains and flows, Strombolian
explosions, and even a 3000m high Plinian cloud.
Between 1982 and 1998, the activity consisted mostly of fumaroles .
A renewal of activity was observed in July 1998.
Over the years, the lava flows
have increased the size of Lopevi Island, and the map
established in 1963 has been updated accordingly. Processing of
radar images taken by satellite showed the extent of lava flows
which occurred between June
and December 2001. The Lopevi volcano is now being monitored
by satellite, processing a variety of data: visual images, temperature
measurements, SO2 concentrations, radar images, etc.