2 Feb 2023

Underwater volcano in Vanuatu erupts

8:11 am on 2 February 2023

An active underwater volcano has erupted in Vanuatu, shooting plumes of ash into the sky.

Submarine senior volcano officer Ricardo William said it was 6km east of Epi island, which was north of the main island in Vanuatu, Efate.

The East Epi submarine volcano has been trembling and spitting steam since early Wednesday morning.

William said the eruption was enough to trigger several warnings.

"The volcano activity increased a little bit to explosions, that propelled ash to some 100 kilometres that fall around the submarine volcano," he said.

"We gave advice to the aviation industry as well as the marinas to stay away from the east of Apia island region."

A watch alert was issued for other islands surrounding Api.

The underwater volcano is one of a series of active underwater volcanic cones and a caldera which last erupted in 2004.

These series of submarine volcanoes are generally referred as East Epi, and the three bigger cones have specific names, from west to east, Epi-A, Epi-B and Epi-C.

All of these cones have had intermittent activity in this and the last century.