Lopevi Volcano - John Seach

john

Malampa Province, Vanuatu

16.50 S, 168.34 E
summit elevation 1413 m
Stratovolcano

Lopevi is one of Vanuatu's most active and scenic volcanoes. The volcano has been in regular eruption for hundreds of years. Lopevi is the tallest point in central Vanuatu. The steep-sided mountain is an impressive sight, with a classic stratovolcano shape. The island was previously inhabited, but is now deserted due to ongoing volcanic activity. Local customs prevent women from climbing the volcano.

Lopevi volcano photos by John Seach

lopevi volcano vanuatu
Lopevi Volcano - John Seach

lopevi volcano
Lopevi volcano, Vanuatu

lopevi volcano vanuatu
John Seach high on slope of Lopevi volcano.

lopevi vanuatu
Active cone on Lopevi during 2000 expedition

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Lopevi volcano 2006 - John Seach

lopevi volcano
Pyroclastic flow damage, Lopevi volcano in 2000 - John Seach

Lopevi island
Lopevi Island jungle - John Seach

lopevi island
Digging for yams, Lopevi Island, Vanuatu

2008 Eruption
Lopevi volcano in Vanuatu erupted on 24th February 2008 according to a pilot report. A thick grey plume was visible to an altitude of 10,000 ft and drifted 5 nautical miles east of the volcano.

2003 Eruption
Lopevi Volcano erupted on Sunday 8th June 2003 at 1155 hr local time. The aircraft control tower at Port Vila reported thick ash to 40,000 ft drifting SE. An eruption plume is not yet visible on satellite images. Lopevi is one of the most active volcanoes in Vanuatu. The last eruption of Lopevi was on 8th June 2001 when a 10 km high eruption column deposited ash on neighbouring islands. Satellite data indicated degassing resumed in December 2002. GOME satellite data indicate SO2 emissions close to Lopevi and Ambrym Volcanoes on 13, 19, 22, and 25 December 2002, then again during 4, 7, 11, 14, 17, and 20 January 2003.

2000 Eruption
The active NW crater was climbed by Seach on 23 and 24 February 2000. A lava dome was present on the SW crater rim from where the pyroclastic flow had originated along a 100-m-wide front. Lighter colored deposits marked its track down the volcano. On the N edge of the pyroclastic-flow deposit and 200 m below the NW crater was the source of a debris avalanche. A debris volume on the order of a million cubic meters had moved, exposing a large hole and producing two branching flows that moved ~250 m SW towards the sea. A new 150-m-high cinder cone formed inside the old crater was smoking with blue and white vapour being emitted. Ground temperature was 81°C at the base of the cinder cone. A two-week-old flank lava flow was observed to have traveled 1.5 km WNW to an elevation 250 m below the NW crater, burning trees and vegetation.

1963-65 Eruption
An eruption commenced at Lopevi volcano on 7th July 1963, at the summit crater which had been dormant for 50 years. In August a crater opened at 1000 m elevation, at the site of the 1960 eruption. A new fissure opened in September at an elevation of 240 m and extended to an elevation of 660 m. Activity changed from Strombolian eruptions to ash emissions after November 1963. On 8th April 1964 ash emissions reached a height of 30,000 ft.

1960 Eruptions
Eruptions began at Lopevi volcano on 10th July 1960 accompanied by strong earthquakes and a Plinian column which reached 30,000 ft high. The eruption plume was visible from Port Vila, 130 km south. Nude Ardente occurred on north-western flank of the volcano. The lethal cloud killed goats and cattle, but missed Tematu village by 200-300 metres due to strong SE winds.
Summary of 1960 eruption of Lopevi. Plinian eruption 10th July. Nuee Ardente and Hawaii eruption 10th and 11th July. Strombolian-Vulcanian Activity 12th, 13th and 14th July.

1864 Eruption
A missionary reported seeing flames shooting up from the summit in 1864. A lip of the crater broke away, and an avalanche of hot stones and ashes ran down like a stream of fire to the sea.

1863 Eruption
The first recorded eruption of Lopevi occurred in 1863. The normally sharp peak appeared to be broken off and trees were killed in lines running down the mountain. This indicated pyroclastic flows occurred.

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Lopevi Volcano Eruptions

2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2001, 1999-2000, 1982, 1980, 1979, 1978-79, 1976, 1975, 1974, 1970-72, 1967-69, 1963-65, 1962, 1960, 1939, 1933, 1922, 1908, ?1898, 1893, ?1892, 1884, 1874, 1864, 1863