The frequent volcano rumblings felt on Ambae and surface events seen from neighboring islands of Maewo, Pentecost and even Santo are ideal settings of a volcano experiencing minor eruption categorized at alert level 3.
This was the reply from the Manager of the Geo-hazards Department, Esline Bule, when sought to clarify public concerns on the increasing number of eruptions at the volcano causing more fear among the people.
The volcano seems to be making more smoke and rumblings that can be felt very far away compared to when it (the volcano) was experiencing major unrest stage, the second highest alert level.
Locals from Maewo reported seeing flames and lava cascading down slope from the volcano recently.
These activities are related to the volcano being in a minor eruption state, the Geohazards Manager explained.
About the continuous erupting sounds, Mrs Bule said the reason they are louder is because they are coming out from a dry cone.
“Before, activities were happening beneath the lake (Lake Voui).
“Current eruptions are occurring from a dry cone.
“The cone has also grown in height after the unstable activity. The echo of the erupting sounds bounce through the dry cone and can be heard from a very far distance.
“People in places or nearby islands facing the wind direction will receive the sound more clearly.
“Unlike Mt Yasur where its cone is located to a corner, the cone of Ambae volcano sits right at the top of the hill in the centre of the island.
“Definitely, erupting sounds will be heard from great distances as far as from the neighboring islands of Maewo and Pentecost.”
Bule continued to explain that the alert level 3 means volcanic eruptions are continuing and just like Mt Yasur, it is expected to give out flying molten lava and volcanic gases.
No human activity is expected within 3km from the vent in Lake Voui.
People must not approach the volcano or go near the danger zone as chances for moderate explosions are likely, said the Geo-hazards Manager.